Isaiah continues to talk about God’s judgment on sin. But he also reminds us God will protect His children from the outcome His enemies will face. I love this picture:
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.” (2b-3a)
I am part of that vineyard, God’s Church, through the blood of Jesus. God says He protects it, waters it, guards it against harm. I know that a healthy vineyard goes through pruning, and harvest, and that’s not always comfortable. But God assures us He’s got our backs even when we face the trails of life. It gives me such peace to know the One who cares for me.
Then God says something that I need to remember. Listen to verse 4:
“I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire.”
This verse should terrify some. God will pass judgment on anything and anyone who tries to harm His Church. And it will not be a gentle tap on the wrist. The idea of God going to battle against anyone, or condemning someone to that fire should throw fear into hearts. But God is not motivated by anger. He is motivated by love, and here’s how I know that:
“Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.” (verse 5)
Do you hear God’s heart? I do. God’s will is that no one die without Him. He WANTS everyone to come to Him, to accept what He died to give. He WANTS to protect and defend and nurture and ultimately to spend eternity with each and every one of us.
Some people will go to hell. But that’s not what God’s heart wants.
Do you hear the tenderness in verse 5? He says He will destroy His enemies, but He’d would rather not. “Let them make peace with me.”
Have you ever heard the words, “I love you,” from that special person in your life? Those three words can bring such joy when you know the sentiment is true. What happens then, when that special someone repeats those precious words a second time? Maybe slower, softer, emphasizing each word?
“I love you. I. Love. You.”
That’s what I hear in God’s voice as He said these words in verse 5, as He talks about people who position themselves as His enemies. As He readies to go to war against them, to mete out that final judgment, His heart still cries out:
“Make peace with me. Oh, make peace with me!”
Is there someone I know who needs to make peace with God? May I hear the anguish in the heart of my Savior as He pleads with them to come to Him. May I be faithful to tell them how they can do exactly that, to introduce them to the Savior who loves them so much.
But sharing Jesus isn’t just about helping someone avoid hell. It’s about hearing God’s heart. Do you hear it?