Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.Isaiah 30:18(NASB)
The ongoing rebellion and apostasy of Israel is astonishing in consideration of all that the Lord did for His chosen nation. Despite the covenant that God made with His people and in spite of the many precious promises He gave them, they seemed intent on defying their Lord and turning their back on the grace He continuously showered on them.
Time and again, they relied on their own strength instead of trusting in the Lord their God. And on many occasions, they made alliances with their heathen neighbours rather than turning to the Lord their God for His protection and help. Throughout their chequered history, the Bible records the many times and many ways that Israel rebelled against the Lord their God and did evil in the sight of the Lord.
The covenant God gave through Moses warned the people that disobedience would result in judgement while blessings would be given when they kept His covenant and believed His Word. God counselled Israel many times and through many prophets that their obstinate resistance to Him would cause them much pain. He warned that their foolishness in turning to the world for protection and seeking alliances with the surrounding heathen nations would bring disgrace on them as a people.
Their disobedience would result in their eventual downfall and dispersion from the land of Canaan (which God had pledged as an eternal inheritance to Abraham, and his Promised Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ) - until the entire nation repented of their sins.
Isaiah reminded them that their salvation would be in repentance and rest... and that their strength would be found in quiet confidence in God. But both northern and southern kingdoms rejected all His gracious messages, shunned His prophetic messengers, and defied Him at every possible turn - each of which is recorded in Holy Scripture.
And yet we read that the LORD desired to be gracious to His people, Israel. Despite Israel's apostasy and rebellion, God... in His long-suffering mercy was prepared, "to wait patiently on high, in order to have compassion on, them." For, we read, "the LORD is a God of justice. How blessed are all those who long for Him."
As those who have been saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ, how easy it is for us to be critical of Israel's ongoing rebellion and apostasy. How quick we can be to condemn God's chosen people for rejecting the Lord's gracious message, shunning His many messengers, refusing to believe His holy Word, and failing to translate their special, covenant relationship with Him into personal repentance, trusting obedience, abiding rest, quiet confidence, and a secure faith in the gospel of God.
But too often, we Christians can also find ourselves trusting in the world's answers, straying from the path of peace, and depending on our own resources. We too can drink the brackish waters from this world's broken cisterns. We too can trust in man governments, place our hope in a hero, leave our first Love, and wander far from the Lord Who bought us with His own precious blood.
Let us seek to learn lessons from Israel's failure, so that we will not make the same mistakes by hardening our own hearts to His gentle voice and gracious promptings. And let us thank God that His grace towards His covenant people will continue... until Jesus comes to set up His eternal kingdom on earth in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel - for He longs to be gracious to all His children and waits on high to have compassion on us all. For the LORD is a God of justice - How blessed are all those who long for Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my God and Saviour. Thank You for the grace You have shown to me and to all who trust in Christ for salvation. I pray for Your people, Israel... that many would repent and turn to Christ by trusting in His shed blood for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting - to Whom be all honour and glory, forever and ever, AMEN.