SHELTER FROM THE STORM
How great is Your name, Lord my God, through all the earth. When I see the vastness of space, I am amazed that You keep me in mind.
Read ISAIAH 4:2–6
The Branch of the Lord
2 In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit[a] of judgment and a spirit[b] of fire. 5 Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory[c] will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.
- Isaiah 4:4 Or the Spirit
- Isaiah 4:4 Or the Spirit
- Isaiah 4:5 Or over all the glory there
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.
‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress”’.1
In his alternating views of Israel’s possible futures, Isaiah turns his attention back to those few, often described as ‘the remnant’,2 who have not followed the majority but have retained their commitment to God and His covenant in reality, not just in lip service. Isaiah does not underestimate the awfullness of what is coming for God’s faithless people, nor does he ignore the effect it will have, even on the faithful. However, he wants them to be quite clear that there is also a ‘beautiful and glorious’ hope (2) for those who, in spite of the filth that landed on them, will be cleaned up and even called ‘holy’ (3). Yes, the blazing heat and the raging storm will come, but God will provide for them ‘a refuge and hiding-place’ (6). They will be kept safe by God Himself.
It is not always easy for believers to get the balance right between total confidence that God will provide for us and a realistic acknowledgement of the context in which that provision comes. It is vital that we do, however. Isaiah gives us a good example! I look back with some shame on talks I gave years ago at youth groups and college devotions when I’m sure ‘Christ is the answer to your every need’ came across as ‘all your needs and wants will be met very quickly!’ I have known more than a few people who have lost their faith because the unrealistic expectations they were given were not met and they therefore concluded that God was not faithful after all. We must be honest and open both about the troubles that life is likely to bring and also the wonderful truths of the hope that we do have, both in this life and in the next. God is faithful!
Lord, thank You for the glorious hope You set before us. Help me recognize the great canopy that You place over me in time of scorching heat or fierce storm.
Lord God, You are a refuge and a strength for me, a helper close at hand in times of distress. My heart’s desire is to fully trust in You.
1 Ps 91:1,2 2 Isa 11:11,16; 28:5; 37:4,31,32; 46:3
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