Thursday, March 30, 2017

Before the Restoration

How is the faithful city become an harlot!  It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  Your silver is become dross, your wine mixed with water.  Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loves bribes, and goes after rewards.  They do not give justice to the fatherless, neither does the cause of the widow come to them. . . .
Nevertheless, I will turn my hand upon you, and purely purge away your dross, and take away all your tin.  And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counsellors as at the beginning.  Afterward, you shall be called, ‘The city of righteousness, the faithful city.’  Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.”
Isaiah 1:21–23, 25–27

How compassionate God is, to give such a promise to His terribly backslidden people!  What a precious promise, that He will come and restore righteousness to them, and give them – again! – leaders who are wise and good.
But you may have noticed that a verse is missing in the section of scriptures quoted above.  In that missing verse, we are told what must come to Israel before God restores His blessings to the nation – judgment!
Therefore, says the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease myself of my adversaries, and avenge myself of my enemies” (Isa. 1:24).
In other words, before God comes with His promised mercy, He will come with His wrath, and clean house.  And as always when His judgments are revealed, the guilty will become angry and retaliate against the upright.  Righteous judgment always sparks protests from the wicked.  They become bitter, and grumble, and make all kinds of accusations against the upright.  But God is never moved from His purpose by the wicked.  He is only moved from His purpose when the upright are moved by the wicked to turn from their uprightness.
God is determined to rescue His faithful people, those who love Him and His ways.  The foolish will not prevail forever.  Peace and holiness will fill the house of God again.  God has promised it!
The only question is this: Will you be among those who rejoice when God restores righteousness and peace and joy to His household, or will you be among those who are cast out so that it can happen?