Reading through the prophecy of Isaiah, the attitude of humanity towards God’s Word seems rather obvious — and it is not good. In the 22nd chapter of Isaiah, God desires that people would mourn and seek Him in a time of trouble, yet the response is one of sinful hearts: “In that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and mourning, for baldness and wearing sackcloth; and behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’.” (Isaiah 22:12-13)
Hearing and knowing this, the Lord has a response: “The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: “Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,” says the Lord God of hosts.” (Isaiah 22:14)
Death is the deserved punishment for our sinful actions. We do not die immediately for our sin (THANKS BE TO GOD!), but we deserve to face eternal death — condemnation. Yet, even though we know this, our attitude is often one that continues in sin and shows how easily we forget our calling to live as faithful people of God. Our sinful actions show how desperately lost we can be, giving in to our own ways and selfishness rather than seeking the Word of our gracious Lord. Of course, the Lord could give us exactly what we deserve. Seeing our flippant attitude, he could allow us to die, to suffer eternal death.
Yet, in the midst of this, the Lord reveals Himself for the creation that He deeply loves: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:6-8)
Though we deserve death, the Lord promises to ‘swallow up death forever… to wipe away tears from all faces.’ He knows our sin and He knows what we deserve. Yet, through His death on the cross, Jesus atoned for our sin. Instead of giving us death, He took death for us and, in great glory, rose from the grave to atone for our iniquity. He saved us, now and forever. Through the waters of baptism, we are joined with him in death and resurrection — and we await the day when all sin and sorrow will be no more, when “the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.”
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we cry out to God and desire forgiveness. The Lord responds by swallowing up death FOREVER and giving us eternal life with Him. Of this, the prophet Isaiah reminds us: “It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)
Indeed — let us be glad and rejoice in the salvation of God that turns us from sin and brings us to Him.
Peace, hope & love in all ways & always,