This post begins a series of blogs exploring and enjoying this short chapter from the prophet Isaiah.
In six verses, Isaiah 12 takes us on a journey all the way from a time of being an enemy of the LORD to being His joyful herald as an inhabitant of Zion. The chapter divides neatly in half, with the first half telling of the author’s journey from being under the LORD’s anger to his enjoying the LORD’s salvation, and the second half urging those who have received salvation to trumpet the LORD’s praises and declare His excellence throughout the earth.
Then you will say on that day,
“I will give thanks to You, O LORD,
For although You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away
And You comfort me. – Isaiah 12:1
The text tells of a certain day called “that day.” In this context, what is “that day?” In many Old Testament contexts, “that day” is referring to the day of the LORD, the Last Day, when the LORD finally pours out His wrath on all those who do not bow the knee in worship to the Lord Jesus Christ. But here in this context, “that day” is referring to the day of this man’s salvation. This is the day when any man or any woman passes from death to life (John 5:24). “That day” is the day when God’s wrath toward that sinner is quenched and is forever turned away, and God’s blessing and God’s favor forever replaces it. This is “that day.” (See Isaiah 49:8, quoted by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:2.)
What has happened on “that day?” Something life-changing has happened that has prompted spontaneous and irrepressible thanks, something astonishing that has somehow resulted in God’s righteous anger being turned away from this person and being replaced with the LORD’s comfort. This man pours out thanks to the LORD because “although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away.”
THE DOCTRINE OF THE LORD’S RIGHTEOUS ANGER AGAINST US
The Bible teaches that the LORD is holy, and because He is holy, He will not tolerate sin. His holiness requires Him to punish the sinner. When we sin, the LORD’s wrath rests upon us (John 3:18, 36). He is angry with the sinner (Ephesians 2:3), and He will punish the sinner for his sin. (Also Psalm 32:3-4; Romans 1:18)
And so, this truth answers one of our questions. “For although You were angry with me . . .” The author acknowledges that there was a time when the LORD’s anger rested upon him, but we wonder, “Why was the LORD angry with him? Isn’t it true that the LORD is a God of love? What horrible thing did this man do that warranted the LORD’s being angry with him?” Now it has become apparent that this man did nothing that you and I have not done. The LORD was angry with him because he was a sinner, and that his “ordinary” sin brought the LORD’s “ordinary” wrath and judgment. And if the LORD was angry with this man because of his “ordinary” sin, it follows that the LORD also must be angry with me for my “ordinary” sin.
BUT THERE IS “ALTHOUGH”
But we must read on, for the LORD’s wrath is not the end of the story. There is hope for the sinner (there is hope for me!) because there is this word “although.” O, what is the meaning of this “although?” We will explore that in our next post.
SDG rmb 8/14/2021 #429