When Israel deserved it least, a statement was made: doubtless thou art our father. They feared their standing before God but realized he would be with them if they’d shape up. If we take an honest look at ourselves, would we wonder if it’s too late to turn back to God? Is it too late for revival? Is it too late to have what we used to have with the Lord? These verses answer those questions.
Isaiah 63: 15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? 16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. 17 O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. 18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. 19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
Isaiah prophesied to both Judah and Israel. The nation was divided and was in a mess much like the world is today. The dividers are compromising. Many once served the Lord but have given him up to be accepted by the world. In doing so, they have made themselves unacceptable to God. Israel left God and thereby left the benefits of having him as their Father. They claimed their heritage in Abraham and Jacob, but they were far away from God. When this is done, things seem okay for a while but sooner or later they begin to fall apart. We can’t go by the past. How are things between you and God right now?
When troubles come, what is your response? We see in verse 15 that Israel questioned the Lord. In effect they were saying “what’s the matter with God? Why has this happened? Why has that happened?” Do you treat God like your Father? Do you stay under his household? Instead of blaming God as Israel did, realize it’s your fault—my fault—all along. Do we have the courage to ask God “what’s the matter with me?” That’s the first step to getting to an organized life that’s put together by the Lord. Israel erred from God. Look at verse 17. They turned around and said it was God’s fault. To err is to do wrong. It’s more than a mistake. It’s choosing our way over God’s way. When we do that, we cannot blame God for it. He doesn’t cause it. Why do many have the habit of blaming someone else for their sin instead of taking ownership of it? God is the heavenly Father to those willing to be his children.
Israel also hardened their hearts against God. There was a time they feared and honored the Lord, their heritage, and the temple. God blessed them. When they departed from God’s ways he dealt with them but they resisted. The longer a person resists the harder his or her heart becomes. God chastises his children, but if we don’t turn back to him we will harden our hearts. If you can’t see God like you used to, your heart may be hardened to him.
Did you ever ask your dad why he was whipping you? He wasn’t being mean; he was trying to help you because he loved you. God loves us and if anybody has erred it is us. Verse 16 says doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. They had no father to look to. They were descendants of Abraham and Jacob, but their forefathers didn’t know them. They would have been ashamed of their behavior. God did see and knew all about the situation. Would your dad approve of how you’re doing things now? What’s more important is what the heavenly Father thinks about it. Sometimes earthly fathers condone behavior, but they need to tell the truth according to the Holy Scriptures. We need godly parents. Ultimately we all answer to God for ourselves—father, mother, sister, brother—will all stand before God. I want to behold him as my heavenly Father. That means I must be his child.
I had one dad; others may have been good father figures, but I had one dad. He made mistakes, but he sacrificed a lot to raise us. He loved us. The punishment I received was for my benefit. When I was a senior in high school he had a stern conversation with me about how I looked and acted. I thought he didn’t know anything. He only had a 5th grade education. What did he know? He bravely fought for our country. He fought for me when I was ill carrying me in his arms to the hospital. He did all that because he loved me. I had the gall to talk back to him. If I could go back, I’d do it differently now.
I have a heavenly Father in God if I am his child. Salvation is what makes us children of God. I can’t go back 40 years and talk to my dad, but I can still go to God. I can treat him as the Father he is. He still wants to be our Father. It’s time to dedicate ourselves to him. It’s time to call on his name because without a doubt we have a heavenly Father.