The more time I spend in the Old Testament, the more I crave it. Over the years, how many times have I heard someone say that the God of the Old Testament is mean-spirited and vindictive, different from the God of the New Testament. Ever heard that?
How wrong can they be. It’s the same Lord, both the Old and the New. Same God…same time…same place! Isaiah 63: 9–‘I will tell you of the kindnesses of the Lord…In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.’ What a gem from God’s Word. The Bible is chock full of them. This is one of the best.
Sometimes we wonder if God cares about what we’re going through. A heresy has always reared its ugly head all through church history that God is way up in the heavens, unfeeling and uncaring toward those of us stuck way down here. Maybe you think that? Read verse 9 again. Slowly, word by word, phrase by phrase. It says as clear as clear can be–when we’re facing difficult times, we never face them alone. God feels for us and with us. He’s moved by what moves us.
Like a good Father ( v. 16), He loves us and cares for us. More than that, He sends His angels to be with us. This is a reference to Exodus 23: 20-23 and 33: 14-15. God never deserted Israel, even when they wandered for 40 years in the desert. He’s not absent, AWOL, off somewhere else with a younger and cuter convert. No, He’s with us through-and-through, thick-and-thin.
And He redeems us– which means to buy us out of slavery. Pilgrim Church in New York City under their pastor Henry Ward Beecher would raise monies to buy slaves out of bondage before and during the Civil War, staging slave-redemption auctions in their Sunday worship services. Isaiah 63:9 says that our God redeems us.
No money needs to be raised. No staging. God’s love and mercy is all that’s needed, which He gave willingly and freely…for you and me. More than that, He lifts us up. When we’re down, there He is with hands outstretched toward us…to lift us up, back on our feet. When you can’t make one more step on your own, and all your strength has been sapped away, then this verse says– ‘…He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.’ Carried our burdens. Past, present…and future. Shares every bit of our lives always because of His love–found here in the Old Testament!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being One with us…in love and mercy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.