“Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations…
It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them,
so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
The heart of the Lord is on display here. Desiring not sacrifices or outward fealty, but sincere love and repentance from sin. He desires to pour out forgiveness, to say to each one, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you” (Zechariah 3:4).
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2). This is where sin leaves us. Falsely promising satisfaction, it leads us to darkness, to separation from the God of light. A chasm we cannot cross.
Yet it is in that same chapter of Isaiah where hope is identified. Recognizing our desperate state, the Lord acts: “The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him” (Isaiah 59:15-16). His own arm brought him salvation. The salvation we desperately needed. The Lord knew there was no one to intercede, no one else who could save us, no one who could repair the separation our sinful choices had created. So He came, to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
We have hope, because of the words in Isaiah 59:20, “‘And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,’ declares the LORD.” The Lord has declared it. And He fulfilled His promise. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came. Bringing salvation and covering us with righteousness – each of us who turns from transgression and chooses to believe in Him.
Our Lord’s heart is not seen in destruction. It is seen in salvation. It is seen in His pleas for those in darkness to come into His light, to be saved not only from consequences, but from their sin itself. He knows sin’s destructive power, the wickedness it conceals. And He longs to save us from it. Enough that Jesus Himself brought salvation. He took the weight of our sin upon His own shoulders. He bore the full wrath of God for our sake.
As we wait for His second coming, for the fulfillment of His promise to bring justice and righteousness to our world as He makes all things new, ridding creation of all evil and darkness, let us “count the patience of the Lord as salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). May our hearts reflect His own, desiring salvation for those whose iniquities still separate them from the God who would save them. Let us speak of the hope that we have, not turning away from those in darkness but rather shining the light of Christ through acts of love, generosity, and service, and through spoken words that carry the power of the Spirit, the hope of the cross, and the breath of life their souls desperately need.
“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel.
Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me…
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
but that the wicked turn from his way and live;
turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?”
Ezekiel 33:7, 11
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,
not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-20