“You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the peoples, proclaim that His name is exalted.”
God is angry when He is responding to sin or evil. God “hates” evil and sin. It is contrary to His nature and violates His character. The world has rebelled against God and nations act in selfish ways. God gets angry with people because they act in sinful ways; He hates evil in the world because of all the collateral damage it does to humanity. But He hates evil and sin because it violates Him. The dilemma is that humanity is deeply affected by evil and evil has impacted the very nature of humanity. But the remarkable turn of events is that God is gracious and seeks to save that which deserves His judgment. This is reflected in this text in Isaiah.
God is our salvation. When everything about our attitude, beliefs, values, behavior and actions would appear to provoke God to judgment there is reason to be afraid. But God extends His grace to rescue us instead of judging us. He can be trusted because, unlike us, He is not fickle or acts impulsively. We must choose to trust Him when all of our instincts might tell us to be afraid. That is the nature of faith. We choose, by faith, to trust God rather than “ourselves”. We can’t trust our heart (Jer. 17:9), we can’t trust our own understanding (Pr. 3:5-6), we can’t trust our instincts (Flesh) (Gal. 5:16), we can’t trust our performance (Gal. 3:11) and we can’t trust our accomplishments (Phil. 3:4-7). God saves us from ourselves. He is our strength and our song, as Isaiah states it.
God is the one that replaces my striving, my struggle, my anxiety and my stress about everything in life with joy. I wish this was an automated reality. The moment I surrender to God through faith in Christ, not everything changes. In one sense of course, everything changes. The old life is crucified with Christ and all things have become new. Objectively I have been transferred from death to life, I have been delivered from Satan’s dominion to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. I have a new trajectory in life under the care of my heavenly Father. This means my whole mode of existence has changed and now I have the opportunity to discover a whole new way of life … if I am willing to trust God and walk in His way and not my instincts, I can live a fruitful life. This is something I have to learn. Some aspects of my life were radically changed and some seem like a perpetual anchor I keep dragging around like an inseparable chain. But I am not a helpless victim simply dragged around by my own flesh to indulge whatever impulses I have. Isaiah’s statement, “with joy I (you) will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
God is the one who quenches the deep caverns of our soul. He quenches our quest to understand our identity and worth as a human being. He is the one who brings healing to all the damaged parts of our being. He satisfies those aspects of significance and security that we have struggled to secure in our own way. His presence is like a downpour of grace and love that He floods our heart and soul so that He can bring new life in places that have been barren and destitute for our whole life.
Isaiah was given a new song. Some of us need a new song because we have worn out the old ones. A new song springs from new life. We can’t keep rehashing old memories hoping that will rejuvenate old experiences. Many of us often spend our time trying to recapture the past when God (Christ) needs to be “real” now. Chasing the past, while having some benefit to keeping an eternal perspective, is not the way of Christ. God wants our vitality and enthusiasm in our walk with God to be energized by a fresh, current, daily walk with Christ and the outworking of the Spirit of God. That means experiencing the personal presence of Christ every day. Only then will we have a fresh reason to sing for joy and honor God in all that He has done but, more importantly, what He is presently doing inside me as a child of God…now!
In His grace