So, to understate things, Israel had some trust issues with the Lord. (I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.)
The Old Testament spends a lot of time chronicling the ways in which Israel failed to believe God would/could take care of them, despite His promise that He would and His continual actions that showed He would. They were quick to blame Him when they experienced the fall out of their own unfaithful actions (…this is starting to sound like someone else I know…).
In one particular instance (Isaiah 50:1), an exiled Israel dared to accuse God of abandoning them, comparing Him to a man who divorces his wife and a father who sells his children to pay off his debts (an acceptable practice back then).
God is quick to flip the tables on Israel, correcting their out of touch spin they’d put on the situation. He tells them, essentially, “Oh, you’ve been ‘abandoned’ all right, but not because I left you; I gave you warning upon warning upon warning to stop committing idolatry, but you wouldn’t listen. Your stubborn hearts left Me, and now you’re experiencing the natural consequences of the choices you’ve made,” (Isaiah 50:1-2).
If the story had ended here, it’d be nothing more than a he-said-she-said middle school break up. Yes, Israel would’ve been guilty of breaking their covenant with God to only worship and fully obey Him, but God also would’ve been guilty of breaking His end of the deal to never leave or forsake Israel.
Frankly, I don’t have time for a God like that.
Can I say that?
I don’t need a “God” who isn’t true to His word (even when I’m not true to mine). I’ve got plenty of humans that can let me down in that regard (in fact, all of them can, myself included). An untrustworthy, undependable God is not something I am in the market for.
But the story didn’t end there… after God gives the exiled Israel their reality check, something intriguing happens.
He says, “Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you?”
Do you see it?
God switches verb tenses.
The first question is past tense – was God unable to save Israel from whatever problems they were experiencing, “forcing” them to run to false gods?
The second question is present tense – is God too weak to rescue Israel from her current bondage in Babylon?
Of course, the answer to both questions is no, so the switch in verb tense not only highlights God’s sufficiency in Israel’s past and present situations, it screams the theme of the entire Bible, “REDEMPTION IS COMING!”
Rescue is imminent! God is with us – He always has been – and He is ready to rescue and redeem the hard parts of our lives – of our souls – when we’re ready for Him to. God has never been insufficient in our pasts, and He isn’t insufficient now!
Yes, this is prophecy referring to Israel’s physical rescue from slavery in Babylon. Yes, this is prophecy referring to mankind’s eternal salvation through the person of Jesus Christ. But I believe it is also prophecy referring to the Lord’s rescuing of believers from their everyday trials and tribulations.
The Lord is going to redeem this whole messed up world one day. When He returns, Christ will right it all. But in the meantime, He wants to redeem the individual heartaches we have and stupid choices we make in each of our lives, one by one.
Does He lack the strength to rescue you? Presently? Now?
No, His strength never diminishes. He is the omnipotent One.
Do you lack the strength to trust Him to rescue you? That’s okay. He doesn’t call you to trust perfectly, and His rescuing of you doesn’t depend upon your ability to do so. But being able to trust Him sure makes things easier on you. So ask Him to help you.
“Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God,” (Isaiah 50:10).