His hand is still stretched out
Isaiah 9:17 Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, Nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; For every one of them is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.
This is interesting as at first it seems somewhat strange that the text would say that in spite of all this – His anger is not turned away.
Until we understand that His anger is merciful and combined with an outstretched hand that calls us to repentance through that same anger of discipline.
The text is actually stating something amazing …. that despite such wickedness He still disciplines and holds out his hand.
Far greater and fearful that his anger would cease and He would turn His back and withdraw His hand.
We read the scriptures and very often read into them something that fits our idea of God rather than God’s own revelation of Himself.
Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.
Often understood as teaching that God punishes children for the sins of parents, this well known text has been the source of deep misunderstanding of God’s character and justice – the text actually declaring that God punishes the children for committing the sins of their fathers to four generations.
Once again God’s mercy abounds for He promises to punish as an act of discipline four generations of those that walk in the sins of their fathers. Only after these generations have past does He bring judgement and withdraw His hand
Genesis 15:16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
Oh Lord in my sin do not cease to be angry and withdraw thy glorious hand!