I’m leading a study on Isaiah and, as I read through the book, I have the same reaction I always have reading the Old Testament: how in the world could Israel have been so rebellious? Time and time again Israel turned completely away from God. Even in times when God had just spoken to them or done a miraculous work right in front of them- somehow they still chose to completely forsake God and his holiness. And, while I’m reading, I always have this haughty attitude towards them.
Of course, as quick as I am to be judgmental, I realize, ‘Oh, wait. That’s you, Katie.’ How many times has God spoken to me through his word? How many times has he done amazing things in my life? And, in the midst of his blessing and goodness, how many times have I rebelled against him? Of course, it plays out in different ways than the Israelites, but my heart is still the same as theirs. One main way I see this is idol worship. No, I don’t worship other gods or have visible idols before him. But, I still practice idolatry. Whether it’s obsessing over my relationship status or work status or financial status or a multitude of desires I have, I’m constantly being distracted from the Lord and his holiness. I’m allowing all these other things to cloud out what he is teaching me and how he is blessing me. It’s appalling to me when I think about how many times I have placed my trust in things other than God. Just like Israel, I choose the way of the world far too often. As I read Isaiah, I can’t help but pity myself as I pity them. I can’t help but be disheartened by the similarities I see in my own life.
But, thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. All throughout Isaiah (and the rest of scripture) God’s grace shines through. God’s people rebel. He draws them back in. Over and over again God offers forgiveness and covers his people in grace. And, there’s one way in which God offers his ultimate grace and forgiveness- the cross of Jesus Christ. Humanity is in complete rebellion towards God. Humanity deserves nothing less than total wrath and complete destruction. Yet, in God’s kindness and grace, he sent his own son as the payment for our rebellion so that we could be reconciled to him. I am so thankful for redemption in Christ. I am so thankful he drew me in all those years ago. Yes, I’m still in the flesh. I still fall into rebellion. I still find myself choosing the world at times. But, through the Holy Spirit, I’m constantly being drawn back to God’s grace. He’s always pursuing me. He’s always reminding me of the cross.
So, as I continue to study Isaiah, I’ll remember my own rebellion. I’ll remember my own ignorance in choosing worldly ambitions over God. And, I’ll always remember the grace and redemption I’ve found in the cross.
My rebellion is great. But, God’s grace is greater.