“[…] Cause your face to shine upon your sanctuary that is desolate, for your own sake, O Jehovah. […] Do not delay, for your own sake, O my God, for your own name has been called upon your city and upon your people.”
When Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray, the model he established put the sanctification/vindication of God’s name first and foremost. (Matt. 6:9)
Today, people still defame God’s name when they blame him for human suffering or when they mock God, his moral ways or his loyal servants.
Even the righteous prophet Daniel recognized that our personal salvation is secondary to Jehovah God’s glory and is only possible because of God’s divine mercy. (Dan. 9:18)
It is because of God’s name that the salvation of his loyal servants is guaranteed, for God cannot lie. (Tit. 1:2)
Taking a spiritual point of view on the relevance of God’s name and all it implies helps us maintain a patient, waiting attitude during trying times.
“[…] Do not let your eye feel sorry, and do not feel any compassion.”
Is it cruel on God’s part to destroy the wicked?
Jesus said God executes justice “speedily.” (Luke 18:7,8)
But when Ezekiel prophesied about Jerusalem’s destruction, five years had yet to pass before its fulfillment.
Since the days of Moses, Jehovah had sent one prophet after another to warn his people of what would happen should they stray from true worship. (Jer. 7:25)
Still, the people as a whole were not destroyed.
Jehovah examined them individually and figuratively marked those who would survive Babylon’s invasion.
Furthermore, the religious leaders most responsible for corrupting Jehovah’s worship would be the first to be executed. (Eze. 9:6)
This teaches us that being a nominal Christian or getting baptized is not enough to receive the “mark” of salvation.
Jehovah and Jesus will closely examine who among us truly has faith by our acts of worship. (Jas. 2:24)
”[…] Let us bring our case against each other; Tell your side of it to prove you are in the right.”
Would you be audacious enough to argue against God to his face?
Could you really hope to prove anything to the One who formed you and everything else in the universe? (Is. 44:24)
“Woe to the one who contends with his Maker,
For he is just an earthenware fragment […].
Should the clay say to the Potter: ‘What are you making?’ […]
Would you question me about the things coming
And command me about my sons and the works of my hands?”
God Jehovah is constant and unchanging. (Is. 43:10)
Unlike us humans who wear out and may sometimes have a change of heart, God’s purpose endures forever. (Is. 46:10,11)
It would be very foolish of us to stubbornly refuse God’s means of salvation even if there are some aspects of it we struggle with on a personal level. (Is. 43:11; 46:12,13)
God offers the waters of salvation through his written Word to those who humbly leave behind their former ways. (Is. 43:18-20)
“Instead of peace, I had great bitterness; But in your fondness for me, You preserved me from the pit of destruction […]”
God’s will for each one of us is that we may have a fundamental understanding of his loving kindness. (1 Ti. 2:3,4)
He is fond of those trying to obey him and does not want anyone to die. (2 Pe. 3:9)
Although Jehovah God does not miraculously extend the life of all his servants, as he did in King Hezekiah’s case, we can all experience the strength infused by our faith in everlasting life. (Ps. 37:29; Is. 38:1-5; Da. 3:17,18; Acts 7:54-60; Ro. 14:7,8)
The real “pit of destruction” all of God’s servants are saved from represents the hopeless and despairing state of ignoring his will.
Said ignorance could ultimately lead to the destruction of our very souls. (John 3:36)
Those who are faithful are spared said despair even during trying times.
We find strength in God’s words, just like Hezekiah did, and know that regardless of what happens, we will ultimately be restored to life (Is. 38:16)
“Jehovah will strike Egypt, striking and healing it; and they will return to Jehovah, and he will respond to their entreaties and heal them.”
In this prophetic context, Egypt represents the nations of the earth in general. (Re. 11:8)
God will strike them on his judgment day. (Re. 16:14,16)
Throughout the earth, individuals set apart for salvation will then be “healed” in every sense of the word: spiritually, morally, physically, mentally and emotionally. (Re. 22:1,2)
Who will be their deliverer? None other than God’s own son.
(Is. 19:20; He. 2:9,10,14)
In the mean time, there is ‘an altar in the midst of Egypt’ and a ‘pillar on its boundary’ in the sense that God’s servants can be found throughout the nations and yet conduct themselves differently than most of the world around them. (Is. 19:19; Joh. 17:15,16)
God’s servants worship him united and peacefully, regardless of their national origin. (Is. 19:23)
If you would like more details on the minor and major fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies, you can find it in the online book “Isaiah’s Prophecies” Volume 1 & Volume 2.
“With rejoicing you will draw water
From the springs of salvation.”
In some Bible passages, water is a metaphor for knowledge of the true God. (Is. 11:9; Re. 22:17)
An accurate knowledge of Bible teachings can strengthen our faith in God the way streams nourish a leafy tree. (Ps. 1:1-3)
Unlike trees, however, most of us do not have an innate inclination to enjoy Bible reading in and of itself.
A rejoicing attitude toward Bible reading is something that must be conscientiously nurtured.
When we do not read God’s Word regularly, or read it but do not take the time to analyze how it affects our relationship with our heavenly Father, we can begin to depend more on ourselves or on material assets.
In time, spiritual matters may become tedious and cumbersome.
In contrast, the more we get to know Jehovah, the more we perceive his loyal love and we are inclined to rely on him through anxious times.
Then we can share in the prophet’s joyous conviction:
“Look! God is my salvation.I will trust and feel no dread;
For Jah Jehovah is my strength and my might, And he has become my salvation.”
“For Jehovah is loyal in his love,
And he has great power to redeem.
He will redeem Israel from all their errors.”
“Redeem” connotes a number of things:
You can redeem a coupon, in which case the literal meaning is to exchange.
You can redeem something you pawned, in which case you are recuperating something valuable.
You can redeem a mortgage, which basically means you’ve paid off a great debt.
You can also redeem abstract things, like when you fulfill a promise.
You can redeem people, including yourself, when you or someone else recovers your reputation.
It is possible for God to redeem us from sin because He has exchanged the perfect life of his son for each person born into sin (Rom. 5:8).
He has paid off our debt and recuperated our chance to live forever.
Because of Christ’s sacrifice, Jehovah can fulfill his promise to save those who exercise faith in His son (John 3:16).
His pardon is so great that He can even reestablish our reputation (Isa. 1:18).
How can we make use of God’s loyal love?
We must show appreciation for what He does for us (Mic. 6:8).
“But you, Jehovah the Sovereign Lord, Act in my behalf for the sake of your name. […]”
When we use God’s name, Jehovah, others come to identify Him as our God.
It is both a privilege and great responsibility.
But when others mistreat us, we can count on Jehovah acting in our behalf.
He does not tolerate anyone bringing such disgrace onto Himself, and what that means for us is that He is a God of action.
While Jehovah may allow an oppressive situation to continue for a bit of time, he will never allow his servants to be left hopeless or helpless.
He loyally extends kindness toward them in the form of deliverance or endurance (1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 4:7-9).
He may even save us in the form of giving us wisdom to know what our next step should be (Ps. 31:3; Ps. 119:98,99).
And yet another way he acts on our behalf is by forgiving our sins when we have truly repented (Ps. 25:11).
How wonderful it is to serve such a loyal God!
“With his pinions he will cover you, And under his wings you will take refuge,”
It is normal to feel overwhelmingly tired from time to time and maybe even wonder if you can go on.
When you are on good terms with your Creator, you can count on him to fight your battles when you’ve done all you can.
“For he will rescue you from the trap of the birdcatcher,” (Ps. 91:3).
The “birdcatcher” is a metaphor for Satan, who relentlessly tries to trick people into making the wrong choices to destroy souls.
You needn’t fear making the wrong choices if you are making God your refuge.
Jehovah God is particularly fond of those who seek him by name (Ps. 91:14,15).
To know someone by name implies more than just knowing their name.
For instance, my boss is a doctor.
I am aware of my boss’s first name, but I would not call him by that name to his face or to others unless we had a much closer relationship.
In God’s case, he is inviting you to build up to that level of closeness.
Once that trust is established, you can call on him with full faith in everything his name represents, and ‘he will cause you to see his acts of salvation,’ (Ps. 91:16).
“As for the one who follows a set course,
I will cause him to see salvation by God.”
Jehovah God values those who have made a covenant or vow to serve Him and strive to fulfill it (Ps. 50:5,14b).
But He knows it will not always be easy; that is why he asks us to rely on Him.
“Call on me in the time of distress. I will rescue you, and you will glorify me” (Ps. 50:15).
Jehovah says He cannot remain silent before our suffering and will act as Judge before us (Ps. 50:3,6).
Therefore we can reach out to Him with the confidence that He cares about us.
When we praise Him with a thankful attitude, we demonstrate that we rely on His strength and not our own (Ps. 50:14a,23a).
Only then can we ‘see His salvation,’ recognizing His works through the eyes of faith.