Thursday 4 October 2018
We have seen repeatedly that passages from Isaiah are quoted in the New Testament. As you read through Isaiah for yourself you will see many more references that I have not included in this series of highlights. Today we look at two more themes that crop up in the New Testament.
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 Saviour.
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.
The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not an impersonal force. Isaiah says that it is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit and make him sad. The context here is when people rebel against God even after being redeemed.
In Ephesians 4:30 Paul also tells people not to grieve the Holy Spirit. In Paul’s context he is warning his readers to get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice, and to be kind, compassionate and forgiving instead.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have given us over to our sins.
In Isaiah 64, the words are no longer God speaking to people, but Isaiah speaking to God. He is admitting that even people’s attempts to do good are filthy in comparison to the holiness of God.
Although it is not a direct quote, this passage from Isaiah reminds me of the words of Paul:
…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Godand all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)
Thomas Halley (Sawyers Church Leadership Team)