Wednesday after Epiphany

Isaiah 63:1-19

A Day of Vengeance and Cry for Mercy

Epiphany means “manifestation.”  We saw this when the Christchild was made manifest to the magi, the pagan astrologers who represent the nations, you know, me and you, the people who were children of wrath and aliens to the covenants of promise before the cross and resurrection, and then in our time were given the gift of the Holy Spirit who made us believe in the only One who can save.

In the spirit of Epiphany, the Lord appears again, but in this passage as warrior and judge, the Messiah who comes to execute his great wrath upon the earth.  He comes in garments crimson red, stained with blood, the blood of his adversaries.  He did this in a winepress, which is a symbol for judgment in the Scriptures (Joel 3:13; Revelation 14:17-20).  Interestingly, the Lord says, “For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.  I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me.”  The work of salvation or judgment is solely the work of the Lord.  He needs no help, but there is not one of us who could help Him, anyway.

Then Isaiah recounts the steadfast love of the Lord on behalf of His people, the compassion that He showed them, even when they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit.  The Lord brought them through the sea, and shepherded them through the wilderness through His servant, Moses.

But now, it seems to Isaiah that the Lord is not with them.  Isaiah pleads: “You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel [Jacob] does not acknowledge us, you, O Lord, are our Father.”  The nation was being trampled underfoot in Isaiah’s time.  Isaiah cries, “O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart so that we fear you not?”  It is a dreadful teaching from Scripture that to the extent we wander away from the Lord, to that extent will He harden our hearts in our wandering (Romans 1:18-32).  Isaiah looks over the land and the devastation, and sees that it is as if Israel had never been God’s people.

There are times in our lives we need to examine ourselves and ask if it seems we are no longer God’s people and ask “Why?”  Perhaps you might recount the deeds of His steadfast love in your life and let that bring you to repentance.  He comes to save. Return and know rest (Isaiah 30:15).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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