Isaiah 63:9, 10, 17 NIV
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.
Yet they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
and he himself fought against them.
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.
In this chapter God is described as a deliverer who has single-handedly delivered his people from their enemies. In picturing this victory and the events that led up to it three thoughts stand out to me. First, in their distress "he too was distressed." I think we forget that our sin grieves God. The pain we experience when we are disciplined hurts God. God takes no pleasure in seeing his people suffer. Like a parent who disciplines his child but takes no pleasure in it, so God disciplines his people, but he does not enjoy watching them suffer.
Second, the discipline they are experiencing is well deserved. Despite experiencing God's greatness, glory and grace they rebelled. They grieved his Spirit. They did not listen to their God and so he disciplined them. Discipline is always for our own good, but we often fail to accept our responsibility in the matter.
That leads to the third thought. Israel seems to be blaming God for their suffering. "Why, Lord , do you ... harden our hearts so we do not revere you?" Now it's God's fault that they don't listen? People have an incredible ability to blame God, circumstances and other people for their own bad behavior.
Father, forgive me for the times I have neglected to take responsibility for my own sin. Forgive me especially for blaming you. Today may I walk in transparency and honesty before you. When you discipline me may I listen quickly. When I fall may I admit it immediately. I recognize that my sin grieves you. Today may I honor you, not grieve you.
By His grace,