Intro: If you spend time in the Word of God, you will run across passages where God speaks of Himself as the faithful Creator and Husband who has committed Himself to His Bride (Israel and the Church). Because of the ongoing practice of sin, Israel continually separated herself from her Husband. So, God released Israel for a brief time—seventy years in Babylonian exile—to learn some valuable lessons about His power, purpose, and promise. Now, seventy years does not seem like a brief time to me, but I guess in light of eternity, it is brief indeed. The Exile of Israel was similar to the Flood, because both happened due to humanity’s sinfulness and unfaithfulness to the Creator and Husband. Yet, the Lord made a promise to restore all of creation after the Flood and His people after the Exile; and He did.
In our passage today, God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah about His faithful love for Israel. The Exile was a traumatic and humiliating thing for Israel; yet, God was merciful and remained their saving Hope. The people claimed to be God’s chosen ones, but instead of resting in the protective care of her Husband and wearing the righteous garments He provided, Israel found herself vulnerable and oppressed wearing the filthy things of the world. How much better would it have been for Israel to stay in the Holy City close to God instead of wandering away by wearing the sins of the world?
Our lesson and response today is to thank God for His faithful and enduring love in the midst of humanity’s unfaithfulness. If we will turn toward God each day and live for His honor and glory—reflect His character—we will enjoy His presence and protection; we will grow in wholeness as we experience divine blessings. God wants to redeem Israel and the Church and draw each to Himself to become One. What can we learn from all of this today? “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world” (James 4:8).
Isaiah 54: 9-10 NLT
“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you.
For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your faithful love. Please continue to teach us about your enduring love, as well as help us to live righteously far beyond the hatred and filth of the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.