EVERLASTING FATHER (2)
See Isaiah 63:16; Matthew 6:9
Context of the Text:
While the end of the previous chapter had a picture closely corresponding to Jesus’s triumphal entry ‘through the gates’ into Jerusalem (62:10–11; see Matt. 21:5; John 12:15), this chapter opens with a triumphal entry of a very different sort. Whoever it is coming from Edom, he is not ‘humble and mounted on a donkey’ (Zech. 9:9). He is wearing imposing robes and marching boldly back from the land belonging to one of Israel’s oldest enemies (63:1). Something about his appearance—the red staining of his clothes—provokes a question. It looks as if he may have been trampling grapes in a wine press, but the reality is that blood, not grape juice, has ‘spattered on [his] garments’ (63:2–3).1 This is the aftermath of ‘the day of vengeance’ (63:4). The suffering Servant is returning as the conquering Warrior.
Anger shown to their enemies is ‘goodness to the house of Israel’ (63:7). While their adversaries are on the receiving end of God’s wrath, the Lord’s people experience ‘the abundance of his steadfast love’ (63:7). Their rebellion has brought them stern discipline, but eventually the Lord acts for the sake of his name, in a way reminiscent of the Red Sea deliverance (63:8–14).
Though this relationship was revealed under the old covenant, it was practically realised only upon the rarest occasions. Amid their trials, this is now the ground of their appeal. As their Father He must love them, and be ready to listen to them, &c. Though their earthly fathers afforded them no assistance, and seem to have ceased to feel any interest in them, they have confidence in the constancy of their heavenly Father’s compassion (Jer. 31:20). This is the ever deepening conviction of God’s people everywhere. Gourds may grow and wither, but our heavenly Father’s love neither grows nor withers—it is un-changing; it holds on and holds out, needing no sustenance from without, except that supplied by our need of it; it endures through all our unfaithfulness, &c.