Loving Savior, show me mercy today.
Read Isaiah 63:1–14
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect“Mercy triumphs over judgment because mercy comes through judgment” (Nicholas Batzig).
This vision of Isaiah’s is terrifying—God comes to them speaking of his anger and wrath, wearing blood-spattered garments (3) and having trampled the nations (6). What a contrast with the glorious light and good news of the previous visions (60:1; 61:1). And yet… This day of vengeance brings the year of redemption for his people (4). We can rightly be sensitive and uncomfortable with the word vengeance and its connotation of vindictiveness. But this vision is about justice, putting wrongs right. Watch the TV news today if you’re in doubt that humans long for justice.
If verses 1–6 were all there was to say about God we might despair. But Isaiah goes on to pray, drawing on his people’s other experiences of God. Their (our!) God is also kind (7), he shares
their distress (9), he leads them safely through danger (13), he gives them rest (14). Despite all of that they rebel and grieve him, yet still he loves them. His anger and wrath need to be seen
in that light.
Look back over your life in the light of this description of God. How has he shown you kindness? Have you deserved it?
Think of a particular situation you are hearing about in the news. Pray for God’s mercy and justice to be served.