Isaiah 54: 7 and 8

Isaiah54 7and8

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. Isaiah 54.7, 8

Isaiah 54.7

For a brief
קָטֹ֖ן (qā·ṭōn) Small, young, unimportant

moment
בְּרֶ֥גַע (bə·re·ḡa‘) A wink, a very short space of time

I forsook you,
עֲזַבְתִּ֑יךְ (‘ă·zaḇ·tîḵ)  To loosen, relinquish, permit

but with great
גְּדֹלִ֖ים (gə·ḏō·lîm)  Great, older, insolent

compassion
וּבְרַחֲמִ֥ים (ū·ḇə·ra·ḥă·mîm)  Compassion, the womb, a maiden

I will bring you back.
אֲקַבְּצֵֽךְ׃ (’ă·qab·bə·ṣêḵ)  To gather, collect

 

Isaiah 54.8

In a surge
בְּשֶׁ֣צֶף (bə·še·ṣep̄) An outburst

of anger
קֶ֗צֶף (qe·ṣep̄) A splinter, rage, strife

I hid
הִסְתַּ֨רְתִּי (his·tar·tî)  To hide, conceal

My face
פָנַ֥י (p̄ā·nay)  The face

from you
מִמֵּ֔ךְ (mim·mêḵ)  A part of, from, out of

for a moment,
רֶ֙גַע֙ (re·ḡa‘) A wink, a very short space of time

but with everlasting
עוֹלָ֖ם (‘ō·w·lām)  Concealed, eternity, frequentatively, always

kindness
וּבְחֶ֥סֶד (ū·ḇə·ḥe·seḏ)  Kindness, piety, reproof, beauty

I will have compassion on you,”
רִֽחַמְתִּ֑יךְ (ri·ḥam·tîḵ)  To fondle, to love, to compassionate

says
אָמַ֥ר (’ā·mar)  To utter, say

the LORD
יְהוָֽה׃ (Yah·weh)  LORD — the proper name of the God of Israel

your Redeemer.
גֹּאֲלֵ֖ךְ (gō·’ă·lêḵ)  To redeem, act as kinsman

In my devotions this morning, I came upon Isaiah 54.8. I wondered what it meant for God to hide His face from us, even for a moment. Jesus cried out, wondering why God had forsaken Him. But God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (first in Joshua 1.5, and again in Hebrews 13.5).

As I studied in the original language, I see that each word has differing renditions in English, as all translations do. But what I see is this:

God never leaves us, never forsakes us. It is not in His nature to do so, therefore He can’t. The translation tells me that, in His love and in His perfect (and highly justified) anger, God loosened us (v7) to go our own way. He hid His face from us.

When we speak of hiding one’s face from another, in colloquial terms it means to turn away from; in so doing we can’t see each other’s eyes. It doesn’t work that way with God. He can hide His face from us (we can’t see Him), but He still sees us, He’s still right there – He’s ALWAYS there, He NEVER leaves us. I think it means that He is shielding Himself from our eyes, that we can’t see Him for a moment. He is showing us what things might look like if He was out of our view.

And it is rightly terrifying. When we can’t see God, when we think He is nowhere to be found, our very knees shake and buckle.

And that’s when we fall on our faces before Him. In that moment / wink / short space of time, we realize our need for Him. When we bow before Him, we are able to see Him again. We can see His kindness and compassion. He will bring us back.

I want God to bring us back.

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

WhyHastThouForsakenMe

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

What was happening at that moment? I’m sure there was much more than we can imagine. My take:

  • Scripture tells us that God laid on Him the sin of the whole world (2 Corinthians 5.21). God is holy, and cannot look upon or accept sin.
  • Jesus had lived a life without sin, in perfect communion with His Heavenly Father, because He was God, Himself. That perfect communion was broken because He was covered in sin. He was flesh.
  • Jesus asked a question: WHY have You forsaken me? In that flesh, separated from everything holy, Jesus experienced the deepest pits of sin. That sin, at its heart, is the desire to be like God, to make our own decisions, and to decide what is right and wrong. “Why can’t I go to Heaven just like I am? Why do You get to decide to turn away from Me? Why can’t You accept me the way I am?”
  • God is holy and just: In His love, He created us to need Him, to be whole only when we are completely dependent on Him. When we decided to turn away from our design, we broke with God and wanted our own rules. Our rules involve sin. Sin is turning away from God. The penalty for sin is death (“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Genesis 2.17 and “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6.23). Death is separation from God. God is holy and just, and will not tolerate sin in His presence. BUT He loves us so much that He wants to be with us always. He had the perfect plan for perfect creation and redemption.
  • God was still present at the cross with Jesus and with everyone else at the scene. Although in agony, Himself, He knew, with Jesus, that It Was Finished: His perfect plan for redemption had come to completion.
  • Hebrews 12.2 tells us that Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame, “for the joy that was set before him.” Because He was God, sent from His Father, Jesus knew The Big Picture. He knew the sin of man, knew our need for salvation, knew this was The Way. When Jesus died, God ripped the veil of the Temple from top to bottom (Matthew 27.51), signifying that He had torn the barrier between Himself and us, through the death of his Son.
  • It was finished because God deemed us worth it.
  • God is perfect, God is love, God is Perfect Love. He loves us perfectly.
  • As believers, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit within us, we know what it is to be in His Presence; we have a taste of the comfort, the peace in dependency, the joy of being with God forever. We can only slightly imagine the terror, the agony of being separated from God

Are you separated from God? Do you long for peace in all circumstances – peace that passes all understanding? Call on God. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Know Him. Read His Holy Word. Experience the miracle of the Holy Spirit within you.

image from pixels.com