Grace and Mercy Follow Discipline
On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no longer depend on the one who struck them, but they will faithfully depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. Israel, even if your people were as numerous as the sand of the sea, [only] a remnant of them will return. Destruction has been decreed; justice overflows. For throughout the land the Lord God of Hosts is carrying out a destruction that was decreed. Therefore, the Lord God of Hosts says this: “My people who dwell in Zion, do not fear Assyria, though he strikes you with a rod and raises his staff over you as the Egyptians did. In just a little while My wrath will be spent and My anger will turn to their destruction.” And the Lord of Hosts will brandish a whip against him as [He did when He] struck Midian at the rock of Oreb; and He will raise His staff over the sea as [He did] in Egypt. Isaiah 10:20-26 (HCSB)
Although masses of people in the Bible suffered greatly for the choices of a few, the faithful were brought through the harsh time of God’s discipline by his mercy and grace. This has been true since the beginning of man’s relationship with his Creator. God’s covenant has always been guaranteed by God’s name and character. His reputation and the promises he made are guaranteed by him alone. He is faithful even when the people who claimed his name were not.
In the provisions of the God’s covenant, he exercised the appropriate consequences for the choices the people made and those consequences were always for the purposes of changing the hearts and minds of the people who turned away from his will, ways, and wisdom. Therefore, we can be assured that there will always be a remnant that he will preserve and deliver though his discipline. His discipline or the appropriate consequences for our choices are never out of hate but love to draw his people closer to him… A lesson for all of us as well in our own life when dealing with others who stumble and falter in their choices.
In this passage, the message was given by Isaiah to the people of Zion, or Jerusalem. They were called out to recognize that God’s judgment was being exacted upon the land by God through the Assyrian army as his agent. The Assyrians would ultimately be dealt with by God for their arrogance as his agent before they defied God’s intended instructions and laid siege to Jerusalem. Isaiah proclaimed God’s promise that he would preserve the faithful remnant from the scorched and seized land by the invading Assyrian armies. However, just like us when facing trials and tribulation in our own life, the question for the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding towns remained, “Do you believe your eyes or the Lord’s promises?” When our eyes see what appears as a real threat, how will your faith hold up? Hezekiah was given a sign by the Lord and the city survived, because the Lord was then and still remains faithful to his promises.
But, never assume your survival and salvation comes from anything you have merited or done. Our deliverance only comes through his grace and mercy alone – his everlasting, unyielding love for his people. The rest of the story as one reads in the Bible, as well as recorded in world history, Jerusalem was saved from the Assyrians but just over a century later was destroyed by the Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonians) because the people of Jerusalem and Judah believed they were better than all the surrounding peoples and their pride and arrogance became their downfall.
Relevance for us today: What claim can you make in your own salvation or deliverance from the challenges in your life? Or have you recognized and are eternally thankful for God’s grace and mercy poured out in your life?