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
For a brief
קָטֹ֖ן (qā·ṭōn) Small, young, unimportant
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
וּבְרַחֲמִ֥ים (ū·ḇə·ra·ḥă·mîm) Compassion, the womb, a maiden
I will bring you back.
אֲקַבְּצֵֽךְ׃ (’ă·qab·bə·ṣêḵ) To gather, collect
In a surge
בְּשֶׁ֣צֶף (bə·še·ṣep̄) An outburst
קֶ֗צֶף (qe·ṣep̄) A splinter, rage, strife
הִסְתַּ֨רְתִּי (his·tar·tî) To hide, conceal
פָנַ֥י (p̄ā·nay) The face
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
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
אָמַ֥ר (’ā·mar) To utter, say
יְהוָֽה׃ (Yah·weh) LORD — the proper name of the God of Israel
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.