Don’t you love it when a particular Bible verse comes alive for you by the illumination of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you love it when you’re studying the Old Testament and you begin to see Jesus Christ clearly portrayed in those verses? A verse that I have now placed on my office desk is one such verse.
In all their troubles, he was troubled, too. He didn’t send someone else to help them. He did it himself, in person. Out of his own love and pity he redeemed them. He rescued them and carried them along for a long, long time.
– Isaiah 63:9 The Message
The context of the verse is referring to God’s constant love and sustaining grace in the life of the Israelites (verse 7). He redeemed them from bondage in Egypt. He protected them and saw them through 40 years of wilderness living. He gave them the Promised Land by granting them one victory after another. Time and time again through the period of the Judges God would lovingly discipline His sinning people and then rescue them from conquering nations. That same kind of love was constant through the time of the united nation and the divided nation. The existence of the Israelites was all due to God. They could not take credit for any of God’s blessings upon them. As the contemporary song says, God had been a “Good, Good Father” to His people. And they could say, “I’m loved by You, that’s who I am”.
Like a good many Old Testament passages there is a future message here. Read again Isaiah 63:9. Can you easily see references to Jesus Christ?
In all their troubles, he was troubled, too – In another passage Isaiah says of Jesus, “He was…a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering” (53:3 NIV). Just think of the Lord’s suffering –born in poverty – rejected by most of His own people – slandered – His own disciples betrayed, denied, and deserted Him – falsely accused and beaten – crucified – became sin for us and was separated from His father because of that. He did all that because He cared about our struggles and our troubles.
He didn’t send someone else to help them. He did it himself, in person – Some translations have “the angel of His presence saved them”. The literal translation here would be “the messenger of His (God’s) face”. Jesus told His disciples, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the father” (John 14:9). God did not trust the job of saving us to a person or any spiritual being. He came Himself in the person of His Son to save us.
Out of his own love and pity he redeemed them. He rescued them and carried them along for a long, long time. – It wasn’t our goodness that moved Father God to redeeming action. No, it was only His unconditional love and pity (you don’t pity someone deserving) that led Jesus to leave heaven – to don human flesh – to live as a regular human being – and to die an excruciating death so that we could be redeemed. He has rescued each Christian from the family of Satan and from the road to eternal hell. And He will carry us all the way to heaven. The phrase “long, long time” is translated “through all the years” in the New Living Translation. The image I get is that we will be carried throughout our lives, all the way to our eternal home with God. Nothing can grab us away from God’s arms, because His promise is to carry us through all our years.
The hymn says it well, “Oh how He loves you and me”.