Bible Reading Plan – April 23-29
Bible Project Reading Plan (April 16-22):
Isaiah 18-44; Psalms 113-119:32
Our God is a gracious God. He is patient, kind, giving, forgiving. He gives all good things to mankind. He has shown himself a friend to sinners: the Father sent the Son to gain, and the Spirit to seal, our atonement. These are riches beyond what man can fathom – a guilty people have the greatest riches poured out upon them, by the very one whom they have offended the most! The grace that is captured in the good news of the gospel can hardly be put into words, but merely experienced and echoed in our heart’s songs and prayers.
Yet, our God, the same God, is also a wrathful God. His anger towards sin burns, his patience, although long, will not tarry forever. There comes a day when his wrath is lit, when it is poured out on the world, a fiery burning wrath that consumes like wildfire. It is a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
We often hold these two concepts separate, but the Bible holds no such separation. Our salvation is one with judgment – the gospel is that Jesus is the full demonstration of the love and wrath of God. He took on the Father’s wrath to show us his love. Let us not to be quick to separate these two, wrath and grace, and make them into two separate phases of God’s schizophrenic nature.
Isaiah 30 is a wonderful reminder of how these two ways of relating to mankind stand side-by-side in the Godhead. Listen to how each plays off of the other, one making an appearance while the other is still lingering in the context:
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray. You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.
Isaiah 30:18-30 (ESV)
God is a gracious and wrathful God. The grace that he has shown to us will not be shown to all. Let this fuel our thanksgiving to God, our commitment to obedience, and our evangelism for others.