Isaiah 63:7-19 - Father Figure
The simple words "Our Father" pack in a ton of comforting theology.
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Read Isaiah 63:7-19
7 I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the Lord has done for us—
yes, the many good things
he has done for Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
8 He said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will be true to me”;
and so he became their Savior.
9 In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
10 Yet they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
and he himself fought against them.
11 Then his people recalled the days of old,
the days of Moses and his people—
where is he who brought them through the sea,
with the shepherd of his flock?
Where is he who set
his Holy Spirit among them,
12 who sent his glorious arm of power
to be at Moses’ right hand,
who divided the waters before them,
to gain for himself everlasting renown,
13 who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in open country,
they did not stumble;
14 like cattle that go down to the plain,
they were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.
This is how you guided your people
to make for yourself a glorious name.
15 Look down from heaven and see,
from your lofty throne, holy and glorious.
Where are your zeal and your might?
Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us.
16 But you are our Father,
though Abraham does not know us
or Israel acknowledge us;
you, Lord, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name.
17 Why, Lord, do you make us wander from your ways
and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes that are your inheritance.
18 For a little while your people possessed your holy place,
but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary.
19 We are yours from of old;
but you have not ruled over them,
they have not been called by your name.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 120
Q. Why did Christ command us
to call God “our Father”?
A. At the very beginning of our prayer
Christ wants to kindle in us
what is basic to our prayer—
the childlike awe and trust
that God through Christ has
become our Father.
Our fathers do not refuse us the things of this life;
God our Father will even less
refuse to give us
what we ask in faith.
We can't speak of God as our Father without mentioning the ḥěʹ·sěḏ love of God. Isaiah begins this beautiful passage on God's Fatherliness with a proclamation of the kindnesses (NIV; ESV - steadfast love) of the Lord. These English words are examples of how Old Testament word ḥěʹ·sěḏ is translated; they are words that describe the unfailing covenant love of God. This is the love that our Father has legally obligated Himself to in adopting us as His children.
In just a few verses Isaiah summarizes the story of God's people. He chose them to be His own, and to make that happen, God Himself "became their Savior... In his love and mercy He redeemed them and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit, so He turned and became their enemy and He Himself fought against them (v8-10).
It would seem having the sovereign, omnipotent Lord God Almighty set against these people would be the end of the story, but it can't be. It's not possible, because of the legal obligation God voluntarily took upon Himself. He cannot, and will not ever abandon His covenant people.
Sometimes God, like all fathers, must discipline his insubordinate children, but unlike many fathers, God's discipline is fully rooted and carried out in love. It's this ḥěʹ·sěḏ love that Isaiah appeals to: "Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us, but you, LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from old is your name (v15-16)."
Every time you open your prayer to your Father in heaven, you are appealing to that same ḥěʹ·sěḏ love that Isaiah claimed.
You've likely heard God described as a 'father' so many times that you never think twice about it. But take a moment and realize what must be true in order for you to legitimately be able to address God as your Father.
First of all, it's a recognition that you are created in His image. This is what the Bible means when it calls God's people sons of God: they look, talk, and act like He does. So make sure your conduct always properly reflects your Father. As Jesus commanded you, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)."
Second, realize the tremendous price God paid for you to be His child. Just as God the Father "became their Savior" when Israel needed to be set free from slavery in Egypt, Jesus the Son became your Savior by giving His life to set you free from the slavery to sin and make you a child of God.
Finally, remember what the catechism says here every time you pray to your Father in heaven: "Our fathers do not refuse us the things of this life; God our Father will even less refuse to give us what we ask in faith."
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, our Redeemer from old is your Name (v16);
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you "will tell of the kindnesses (ḥěʹ·sěḏ love) of the Lord, the deeds for which He is to be praised (v7)."
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - John 21