Friday, April 19, 2024

The Book Of Isaiah. Day 112, The Lord Is The Source Of Goodness

In today's text the prophet Isaiah credits the Lord as the source of all good things. He acknowledges that he and his people could have accomplished nothing without the Lord. This is the attitude every person should have because we would not even exist if He had not created us. We could accomplish nothing unless He had given us the health and intelligence and talent to accomplish it. On a personal level, nothing is worthwhile without the Lord. On a national level, nothing is worthwhile without the Lord, because unless we place our trust in Him to protect us, all our precautions are in vain. He is our Defender.

"Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us." (Isaiah 26:12) The nation would not be standing firm if the Lord were not protecting it. The strength of the nation is not its leaders. "Lord our God, other lords besides You have ruled over us, but Your name alone do we honor. They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise." (Isaiah 26:13-14a)

Most of the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel were bad kings. Some were "mildly" idolatrous, if there is such a thing, for they worshiped the Lord but in a manner that went against His commandments. They constructed unauthorized altars and areas of worship, using the golden calf idols to represent the Lord, all of which things were sins. But some of the kings of Israel went even further and forsook the Lord entirely in favor of pagan gods. Many of the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah were godly but there were also some exceedingly wicked ones. 

I believe the wicked kings of Israel and Judah are the ones Isaiah speaks of when he says they are dead and their spirits do not rise. They are in their graves with nothing of eternal significance to show for their lives. They are in their graves and their souls which rejected the Lord will be eternally separated from Him. Isaiah cannot be talking about the kings who were godly because this next segment says, "You punished them and brought them to ruin; You wiped out all memory of them." (Isaiah 26:14b) It's quite possible Isaiah is also talking about the kings of other nations who will conquer Israel and Judah. Those kings were idolaters and a succession of them subjugated Israel and Judah for several centuries. The works of those kings will come to nothing as well; they will go down to the grave and spend eternity separated from the Lord whose goodness they rejected.

But the people who love and serve the Lord will be the beneficiaries of His goodness: both in this life and in the life to come. The nation that serves the Lord will be preserved by the Lord, so Isaiah says, "You have enlarged the nation, Lord; You have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for Yourself; You have extended all the borders of the land." (Isaiah 26:15) 

Isaiah is speaking of his own nation, of course, but the blessings of God will fall upon any nation that honors Him. If not for the Lord, the descendants of Jacob would never have become a nation. If not for the Lord, those people could never have conquered the tribes of Canaan in order to inhabit the land of Canaan. If not for the Lord, those people would not have been protected time and again from their enemies. While it's true that the Lord allowed them to fall (because of idolatry) to several enemies over the centuries, He never allowed any enemy to make an end of them. He has kept the promise He made that Israel would never cease to be a nation in His eyes (Jeremiah 31:36) because although He did allow them to be conquered and although He did allow them to be taken captive to foreign lands, He preserved people from every tribe of Israel. This is why Israel is a sovereign nation in the world again in our times. This is why Israel will always be a nation. 

But any nation can receive the blessings and protection of the Lord and we would do well to pray for our own nation that a great revival would break out in it, with a widescale turning to the Lord. I think we have a duty and an obligation to do just that. If we want to live in peace, we must have citizens who love and honor and worship the God who gave us our nation in the first place.

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