7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you”, says the Lord your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:7 NIV
One of God’s characteristics is that He is slow to anger. The opposite is that He is quick to show mercy. This is a Biblical concept. It’s not just any kind of mercy – it is an everlasting mercy.
The flip side is that just because He is slow to anger and quick to show mercy doesn’t mean that we can take Him for granted. Remember that God did not spare the physical nation of Israel – God’s chosen people – when they persisted in their ungodly ways. The northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed and its citizens taken captive to Assyria in 722 BCE. After that, more than 100 years later the southern kingdom of Judah was taken captive by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
Romans 11:19-22 encapsulates the principle: 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. (ESV)
Abandoned in order to be disciplined
Sometimes we felt abandoned when God temporarily hides His face from us. When troubles afflict us, when problems appear to be bigger than our capacity to solve them and we are in distress and God seems to be silent.
In the case of the kingdom of Judah, they were taken as captives and remained in Babylon for 70 years. God’s people were scattered in different nations of the Babylonian empire and have lost their national identity. No matter how and what they prayed, God seemed silent. Can you relate? Throughout this time, God’s people endured the discipline. Discipline is not pleasant, even if it’s godly. But godly discipline produces godliness in character.
Have you experience a temporary abandonment? By parents, by loved ones, or by the people you trusted? What did you do when you were alone and the world around you seem to have fallen apart? What did you learn from that experience?
God will bring back His people to Himself
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you”, says the Lord your Redeemer.
In verse 7, God declared that He will bring us back. Not because of our own merit, or righteousness. But because of His everlasting kindness, His endless mercy. A time will come when God will gather once again His children in one place so they can worship Him in Spirit and in truth. In verse 8, God said that He will have compassion on us, His love will heal our pain.
Have you experience suffering? Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually, Financially? How do you compare your own suffering with the suffering of others that you know? How do you compare your own suffering with the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the cross?
In this life we will experience temporary affliction, but we need to trust in the LORD. If we are wandering away, then we need to repent and return back to God. He promised that He will have everlasting compassion on us and will give us eternal consolation. There will be times that God seemed to have abandoned us, but we can be certain God has not forgotten us. Although God cannot undo a bad past, He will certainly prepare a good future for His children.