"Behold Your God!"
day the spiritual understanding of mankind was dark through
misapprehension of God. Long had Satan sought to lead men to look upon
their Creator as the author of sin and suffering and death. Those whom he
had thus deceived, imagined that God was hard and exacting. They regarded
Him as watching to denounce and condemn, unwilling to receive the sinner
so long as there was a legal excuse for not helping him. The law of love
by which heaven is ruled had been misrepresented by the archdeceiver as a
restriction upon men's happiness, a burdensome yoke from which they should
be glad to escape. He declared that its precepts could not be obeyed and
that the penalties of transgression were bestowed arbitrarily.
sight of the true character of Jehovah, the Israelites were without
excuse. Often had God revealed Himself to them as one "full of
compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and
"When Israel was a child," He testified, "then I loved him,
and called My son out of Egypt." Hosea 11:1.
the Lord dealt with Israel in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage and
in their journey to the Promised Land. "In all their affliction He
was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and
in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the
days of old. Isaiah 63:9.
presence shall go with thee," was the promise given during the
journey through the wilderness. Exodus 33:14. This assurance was
accompanied by a marvelous revelation of Jehovah's character, which
enabled Moses to proclaim to all Israel the goodness of God, and to
instruct them fully concerning the attributes of their invisible King.
"The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord
God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and
truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression
and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." Exodus 34:6, 7.
It was upon
his knowledge of the long-sufferance of Jehovah and of His infinite love
and mercy, that Moses based his wonderful plea for the life of Israel
when, on the borders of the Promised Land, they refused to advance in
obedience to the command of God. At the height of their rebellion the Lord
had declared, "I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit
them;" and He had proposed to make of the descendants of Moses
"a greater nation and mightier than they." Numbers 14:12. But
the prophet pleaded the marvelous providences and promises of God in
behalf of the
chosen nation. And then, as the strongest of all pleas, he urged the love
of God for fallen man. See verses 17-19.
the Lord responded, "I have pardoned according to thy word." And
then He imparted to Moses, in the form of a prophecy, a knowledge of His
purpose concerning the final triumph of Israel. "As truly as I
live," He declared, "all the earth shall be filled with the
glory of the Lord." Verses 20, 21. God's glory, His character, His
merciful kindness and tender love--that which Moses had pleaded in behalf
of Israel--were to be revealed to all mankind. And this promise of Jehovah
was made doubly sure; it was confirmed by an oath. As surely as God lives
and reigns, His glory should be declared "among the heathen, His
wonders among all people." Psalm 96:3.
concerning the future fulfillment of this prophecy that Isaiah had heard
the shining seraphim singing before the throne, "The whole earth is
full of His glory." Isaiah 6:3. The prophet, confident of the
certainty of these words, himself afterward boldly declared of those who
were bowing down to the images of wood and stone, "They shall see the
glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God." Isaiah 35:2.
prophecy is meeting rapid fulfillment. The missionary activities of the
church of God on earth are bearing rich fruitage, and soon the gospel
message will have been proclaimed to all nations. "To the praise of
the glory of His grace," men and women from every kindred, tongue,
and people are being made "accepted in the Beloved," "that
in the ages
to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness
toward us through Christ Jesus." Ephesians 1:6; 2:7. "Blessed be
the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And
blessed be His glorious name forever: and let the whole earth be filled
with His glory." Psalm 72:18, 19.
In the vision
that came to Isaiah in the temple court, he was given a clear view of the
character of the God of Israel. "The high and lofty One that
inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy," had appeared before him in
great majesty; yet the prophet was made to understand the compassionate
nature of his Lord. He who dwells "in the high and holy place"
dwells "with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to
revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite
ones." Isaiah 57:15. The angel commissioned to touch Isaiah's lips
had brought to him the message, "Thine iniquity is taken away, and
thy sin purged." Isaiah 6:7.
his God, the prophet, like Saul of Tarsus at the gate of Damascus, had not
only been given a view of his own unworthiness; there had come to his
humbled heart the assurance of forgiveness, full and free; and he had
arisen a changed man. He had seen his Lord. He had caught a glimpse of the
loveliness of the divine character. He could testify of the transformation
wrought through beholding Infinite Love. Henceforth he was inspired with
longing desire to see erring Israel set free from the burden and penalty
of sin. "Why should ye be stricken any more?" the prophet
inquired. "Come now, and let us reason together,
Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." "Wash
you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine
eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well." Isaiah 1:5, 18, 16, 17.
The God whom
they had been claiming to serve, but whose character they had
misunderstood, was set before them as the great Healer of spiritual
disease. What though the whole head was sick and the whole heart faint?
what though from the sole of the foot even unto the crown of the head
there was no soundness, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores? See
Isaiah 1:6. He who had been walking frowardly in the way of his heart
might find healing by turning to the Lord. "I have seen his
ways," the Lord declared, "and will heal him: I will lead him
also, and restore comforts unto him. . . . Peace, peace to him that is far
off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him."
Isaiah 57:18, 19.
exalted God as Creator of all. His message to the cities of Judah was,
"Behold your God!" Isaiah 40:9. "Thus saith God the Lord,
He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth
the earth, and that which cometh out of it;" "I am the Lord that
maketh all things;" "I form the light, and create
darkness;" "I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I,
even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I
commanded." Isaiah 42:5; 44:24; 45:7, 12. "To whom then will ye
liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on
high, and behold who hath
things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by
names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not
one faileth." Isaiah 40:25, 26.
To those who
feared they would not be received if they should return to God, the
sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord,
and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou
not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of
the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His
understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no
might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they
shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
The heart of
Infinite Love yearns after those who feel powerless to free themselves
from the snares of Satan; and He graciously offers to strengthen them to
live for Him. "Fear thou not," He bids them; "for I am with
thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I
will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My
righteousness." "I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand,
saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob,
and ye man of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14.
inhabitants of Judah were all undeserving, yet God would not give them up.
By them His name was to be exalted among the heathen. Many who were wholly
unacquainted with His attributes were yet to behold the glory of the
divine character. It was for the purpose of making plain His merciful
designs that He kept sending His servants the prophets with the message,
"Turn ye again now everyone from his evil way." Jeremiah 25:5.
"For My name's sake," He declared through Isaiah, "will I
defer Mine anger, and for My praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut
thee not off." "For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will
I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory
unto another." Isaiah 48:9, 11.
The call to
repentance was sounded with unmistakable clearness, and all were invited
to return. "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found," the prophet
pleaded; "call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake
his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the
Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will
abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6, 7.
reader, chosen your own way? Have you wandered far from God? Have you
sought to feast upon the fruits of transgression, only to find them turn
to ashes upon your lips? And now, your life plans thwarted and your hopes
dead, do you sit alone and desolate? That voice which has long been
speaking to your heart, but to which you would not listen, comes to you
distinct and clear, "Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest:
because it is polluted,
destroy you, even with a sore destruction." Micah 2:10. Return to
your Father's house. He invites you, saying, "Return unto Me; for I
have redeemed thee." "Come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall
live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure
mercies of David." Isaiah 44:22; 55:3.
Do not listen
to the enemy's suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made
yourself better, until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait
until then you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments,
repeat the promise of the Saviour, "Him that cometh to Me I will in
no wise cast out." John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus
Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own:
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be
whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7.
exhortations of the prophet to Judah to behold the living God, and to
accept His gracious offers, were not in vain. There were some who gave
earnest heed, and who turned from their idols to the worship of Jehovah.
They learned to see in their Maker love and mercy and tender compassion.
And in the dark days that were to come in the history of Judah, when only
a remnant were to be left in the land, the prophet's words were to
continue bearing fruit in decided reformation. "At that day,"
declared Isaiah, "shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall
have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the
altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his
fingers have made, either the groves, or the images." Isaiah 17:7, 8.
Many were to
behold the One altogether lovely, the chiefest among ten thousand.
"Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty," was the gracious
promise made them. Isaiah 33:17. Their sins were to be forgiven, and they
were to make their boast in God alone. In that glad day of redemption from
idolatry they would exclaim, "The glorious Lord will be unto us a
place of broad rivers and streams. . . . The Lord is our judge, the Lord
is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us." Verses 21,
borne by Isaiah to those who chose to turn from their evil ways were full
of comfort and encouragement. Hear the word of the Lord through His
these, O Jacob and Israel;
For thou art
I have formed
thee; thou art My servant:
thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.
blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions,
And, as a
cloud, thy sins:
Me; for I have redeemed thee."
day thou shalt say,
O Lord, I
will praise Thee:
wast angry with me,
is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me.
God is my salvation;
I will trust,
and not be afraid:
For the Lord
Jehovah is my strength and my song;
He also is
become my salvation. . . .
unto the Lord; for He hath done excellent things:
This is known
in all the earth.
Cry out and
shout, thou inhabitant of Zion:
For great is
the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."