Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing. (Isaiah 40:17)
If you take today’s opening verse in isolation it sure sounds like God is just mad and hates us. Often in Scripture, before people can hear the good news, they need a warning about the bad news.
So, this is not going to be a downer blog post. There will be good news today: despite God’s rant in this verse, God still loves us and calls out a redeemed people!
Today’s verse, while not a permanent condemnation by God, is a caution against pride. What if a nation or an individual think that they are self-sufficient, superior, and have succeeded at doing life their own way? They need a healthy dose of divine pessimism about what happens when you try to stand on your own. So, today’s divine correction brings us to the good news:
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. (Acts 3:19-20)
Repentance brings us out from under God’s stern warning, and into something delightful. What a picture the word “refreshing” gives of the Christian life. How different from the erroneous idea that being a Christian is a grim, ascetic grind. Indeed, Jesus said I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10b)
As we look forward to Easter, if you do not know him yet, turn to Jesus the Messiah, who loves you and is for you! And if you do know him, may your own joy in him keep increasing and abounding.