Text: Isaiah 33:1-24, Isaiah 34:1-17, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 12:28-29
I can hardly read the headlines without my heart feeling like it will fall out of my chest.
A local family is torn asunder by an abuser in their midst. Someone in the city has acted on their perverted sense of justice and gone on a violent rampage. Systemic evil is evident everywhere—in the courts, on the streets, in the schools, at the market. Idolatrous liaisons with demons incite entire people groups and nations to war with each other, stealing resources, asserting their superiority, and annihilating fellow divine-image bearers. Painful truth bursts out of the darkness and into the light, breaking hearts and dissolving trust. Destroyers, traitors, and betrayers swarm like locusts.
How much more of this heart-wrenching, stomach-turning news can we take? And this is only the news we are aware of in our limited perspectives.
Our world today is not unlike Isaiah’s. We are not unlike the sinners against whom the prophet declared God’s judgment. And so we echo Isaiah’s cry for mercy:
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
- Isaiah 33:2
Our waiting is not in vain. Centuries pass through the annals of time, but God remembers every moment. Millions upon millions of people have walked this earth, but God knows every hair on every head. God hears the ground cry out—satiated with the blood of people whom He created in His own image. He will rise up and punish His enemies.
Destroyers, traitors, betrayers, the godless—tremble before the Lord. Hear what He has done, and acknowledge His might. He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. There will be no escape for those who hate the King of kings.
But God offers amnesty to His enemies. His Son came as our Deliverer.
As Isaiah promised, the day of vengeance is coming when the King returns as the judge. His judgment is just and pure; He is not partial. Yet He is full of compassion and slow to anger (Exodus 34:6). His faithful love is evident throughout the Old Testament, generation after generation, and displayed in full in the person and sacrifice of Christ.
Oh, that we would look to the cross and behold our King in His beauty today! Take up your role as an ambassador and plead with your friends, your loved ones, and yes, even those who hate you, to gaze upon Jesus, our Deliverer. “Today draw near. Today give attention. Today hear! For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This news, too, is overwhelming. But it overwhelms me in a different way. I can almost feel my heart leaping for joy out of my chest! I still wonder how this can really be, this gospel news that seems almost too good to be true. But the Good Shepherd says, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Behold the King in His beauty. Tremble before the Lord who is a consuming fire, and worship Him.
Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four, cross-cultural worker, and writer. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai, where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, The Pastor’s Wife, and Missional Motherhood.