Thus says the Lord—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17
The phrase “Thus says the Lord” appears approximately 1900 times in the Bible. It is one of the most compelling phrases in the Bible that can be both a prophetic warning or a foretelling of blessings. Whenever we hear, “Thus says the Lord, we know the message is urgent and irrefutable. People who claimed that God says something he did not say were often reviled, exposed, and chastised by Almighty God.
Whenever God says something, it comes to pass. That is the only way we can know that what is credited to God is really from God. Indeed, whatever God says is dependable and trustworthy. For, the Lord is not a human being that he should lie. He is not fickle or temperamental in his dealing with humanity. He is always faithful, and his promises are eternally fulfilled.
In today’s text, the Lord is speaking to the Israelites through Isaiah to remind them that if they had paid attention to his commands, their peace would have been like a river, their well-being like the waves of the sea. God is saying that he blesses those who obey him and curses those who walk in disobedience to his commands. He reminds the Israelites of his faithfulness and his unfailing love for those who trust in him.
God is the one who teaches us what is best for us, who directs us in the way we should go. Therefore, we have to heed his word and live according to His precepts. The Lord says we should humble ourselves, pray, and turn from our wicked ways to heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). We cannot solve the social inequalities and end centuries of systemic racism in this country without turning to God. While people are marching for justice, believers should be confessing like Nehemiah and seek God’s face in a spirit of surrender and repentance.
One of the greatest tragedies of this time of social unrest is that the Church of Jesus Christ is failing to lead the movement for justice. Instead, the Body of Christ is content to tag along without stepping up to fulfill its God-given role as the proclaimer of righteousness. While young people are risking coronavirus infection to protest against systemic injustice, many churches are having prayer vigils, and no spiritual leader is stepping forward to lead the movement for the redemption of this nation, as did MLK.
Our message should be, “Thus says the Lord, let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-ending stream” (Amos 5:24). God says for the Church to proclaim freedom for the oppressed, healing for the sick, and God’s favor upon the disenfranchised. Thus says the Lord, “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar” (Isaiah 10:1-34)?
In Proverbs 22:22-23, the Lord says, “Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and rob of life those who robe them.” Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, says, “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). The Lord also says, “my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
During this season of pandemic and social unrest, we need to pay more attention to what God says. The media is steadily spinning the news for its own purposes. Politicians are unreliable and too partisan, to tell the truth. However, we can trust God and take him at his word.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please help us be more obedient to your words and trust what you say even when we do not agree.