One of the great promises of the Lord is that He will be merciful to those who turn from their sin, especially during times of trial. What comfort that is as we face the difficult days in which we live.
The prophet Isaiah spoke about such times. He lived in a day when people were blind to the truth, when they honored perverse men instead of holy, righteous men. They found greater comfort in the deceitful promises of their corrupt leaders than the truth proclaimed in the Word of God. They neither thought about God nor submitted to His ways.
Sounds pretty much like our nation and times to me. In the past, God brought judgment against such prideful, godless nations. One can’t help but wonder what kind of judgment He will bring to our rebellious generation.
That knowledge could lead to a paralyzing fear if it weren’t for one thing: God promises to protect His people. As Jeremiah proclaimed, “O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction …” [16.19]. He is merciful!
Isaiah said it so beautifully, “O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” [30.19-21].
How should we then live, Francis Schaeffer asked in the title of his 1976 book? Certainly, without fear. Add to that, trust in Him. And, if you trust in Him, live as though you really do!
Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him. Isaiah 30.18