Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 19, 2017

“I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 30:18-33.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+30&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

19 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.  20 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.  21 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.  22 And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold.  You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”

23 Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous;  on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture.”  Isaiah 30:18-23.

———————

“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.  …”  Verse 18.

Other doctrine uses this quote and other Scripture to portray a reactionary god who only wants to show grace.  This god “longs” with hands folded just waiting to see which people will exercise their alleged free-will and repent so that he can be gracious to those people.

But, Reformed Doctrine understands that the context of this quote above is “For the Lord is a God of justice” which is in the same verse 18.  This context shows that the meaning of the first quote is that the LORD must complete punishment as an exercise of His justice before He shows grace.

Likewise, God completed His justice before showing grace when He sent His precious only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die on the cross.  If ever there was a time for God to refrain from justice, it was this time.  But, God perfectly demonstrated and completed His justice by even sending Christ to the cross, because justice required satisfaction, that is punishment for the sins of God’s Elect, before God could extend grace to them.

God does not refrain from justice.  God is not reluctant to exercise justice.  God delights in both justice and lovingkindness and exercises both.

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.”  Psalm 89:14.

“Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

The meaning of the statement “Good and upright is the LORD” is that God is both “Good” in the sense of being gracious and “upright” in the sense of being just.

“8 Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.”  Psalm 25:8-9.

“4 For the word of the Lord is upright,
And all His work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.”  Psalm 33:4-5.

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