“But as for you who forsake the Lord
and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune
and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,
I will destine you for the sword,
and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“My servants will eat,
but you will go hungry;
my servants will drink,
but you will go thirsty;
my servants will rejoice,
but you will be put to shame.
My servants will sing
out of the joy of their hearts,
but you will cry out
from anguish of heart
and wail in brokenness of spirit.
You will leave your name
for my chosen ones to use in their curses;
the Sovereign Lord will put you to death,
but to his servants he will give another name.
Whoever invokes a blessing in the land
will do so by the one true God;
whoever takes an oath in the land
will swear by the one true God.
For the past troubles will be forgotten
and hidden from my eyes.
~~ Isaiah 65:11-16 (NIV)
In today’s world we talk about a God of love. And God is that. He surely is love. But He is also a God of wrath.
As you read these verses, you can’t help feeling sorry for those who forsake the Lord. And it seems a terribly harsh ending.
Look at it carefully, however. God gave man a free will. Man can choose whether he wants God as a part of his life or not. If he chooses to have God in his life, God will honor that. As man repents his wrongdoings, God is merciful and loving and swift to forgive. Like a doting parent, He spoils us and gives us what we want.
The people to whom God is speaking here are those who decided they wanted no part of God in their lives. And again, like a doting parent, God is letting them have their own way. He will not inflict Himself on them in life. Nor will He presume the keep them in His presence after death.
There are only two places to live in this universe. One is in the presence of God and the other is away from God. One is heaven, the other is hell. We choose. And God honors our choice because he gave man a free will.
If we choose to live in the presence of God, we can have a piece of heaven on earth. If we choose the other, well….
Help us to choose wisely. Keep us ever mindful of Your presence and Your will. Grant that we may always be obedient to Your promptings and swift to obey. Deliver us from waywardness.
In Jesus’ most precious name.