Isaiah 63: 12 That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? 13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? 14 As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.
As a horse in the wilderness. Consider this with verse 7. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
Is this speaking to us? Absolutely! I haven’t had lots of experience with horses. In the 90’s I rode a neighbor’s horse. Nita rode him first and was fine. What I didn’t know was that he didn’t like men. He went where a rabbit wouldn’t go. I didn’t fall off, but it was rough. The first experience I had with a horse was a free ride on a pony by saving milk coupons. Some people threw a glass bottle under the pony’s feet and he bucked me off against the building.
Here the people were led as a horse in the wilderness so they wouldn’t stumble. We’re serving a God so dedicated to us that he’ll lead us through the rough patches so we won’t stumble. Why does he do this? Verse 7 tells us: his lovingkindnesses. Notice this is in plural form. Every day we experience the touches of God. What I get done is much less than what I don’t get done for the Lord. God’s hand in our lives is big. Even though we might be like an old, cantankerous mule, if we let the Lord lead us we’ll be kept out of danger. God knows the trails of the wilderness. If I stumble as a Christian it is not God’s fault. If we let God have the reins, he’ll take care of us.
Loving-kindness is an act of simple love. If we’re good to others, it means we’re being kind. God is kind to his people and he’s kind when we don’t deserve it. We receive loving-kindnesses not because we have earned it or deserved it. It is because God loves us. While we were cruel to him, he showed loving-kindnesses. Look at how he was treated on the cross. Yet he spoke to the Father and asked for their forgiveness. The people didn’t deserve that kindness. God is good to us anyway! Verse 10 tells us the people rebelled. Let’s not do that. The best thing to do is let God have the bit to the mouth of our soul and turn us which way he wants. Through the roughest of wildernesses God leads by a pathway that may be rocky and uncertain, but we don’t have to stumble if God has the reins.
Think of how many ways God shows his love. Daily he provides for us. He brings things together for us. He makes a way when there is no way. We don’t have to worry about getting through when we lean on his loving-kindness. We try to lead ourselves and when God tries to help we chomp at him like an old horse. Proverbs 3:5-6 says trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Verse 9 says in all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. God was good to Israel. He put confidence in the people. We ought to live worthy of the confidence of God. He was good to them but they rebelled anyway. They then questioned where God was. The Holy Spirit is right where he’s always been. The real question is where are we? We expect and expect from God but back off at what he expects from us. Every day I need God more and more. No matter how grown up the path may be or how hazy it may look, if we’ll drop our leash and give it to God, things will be fine. If anything has ever worked out for us, we owe God the glory for it.
Verse 7 says I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord. Why should I mention it? Why should I let God have the reins? According to all God has bestowed upon us and the ways he has helped us, we see how God takes care of his people if they let him. I can’t say I’m good, but I can say God is good. I can say Jesus is good. We need to say it. We need to mention it to others. Spread the good around. How many ways has God been good? How many blessings have you received? That’s plural too—blessings not blessing.
God blesses us with rest. Verse 14 says as a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. Psalm 23 says The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. The green pastures are places of rest. He’ll lead us to rest. We can look up and say “thank you for your lovingkindnesses.”
The key is offering the reins to Jesus. Will you do that to keep from stumbling?