Devo | God is Above | Isaiah 8:1-8, Isaiah 9:1-7
Read Isaiah 8:1-8
What is love according to the world and our culture?
“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard but must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
““Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”--Martin Luther King, Jr.
What is love according to God and His Holy Word?
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The word for “Love” in the Greek here is ἀγάπη which simply means “a love that covers all” or a “love that absorbs all.” This is a love that isn’t simply an emotional feeling rather it is a mode of acting, a choice.
ἀγάπη (agape) “[It] gives because it loves; it does not love in order to receive. According to Alan Redpath, we get our English word agony from agape. “It means the actual absorption of our being in one great passion.” (Redpath) Strictly speaking, agape can’t be defined as “God’s love,” because men are said to agape sin and the world (John 3:19 and 1 John 2:15). But it can be defined as a sacrificial, giving, absorbing kind of love. The word has little to do with emotion; it has much to do with self-denial for the sake of another.” – Enduring Word Commentary
In order, to understand why God sent Himself as Jesus into the world we must first understand the one, true biblical definition of what love is, how God defines love. This is important as we look at the situation found in Isaiah 8:1-8.
A Rebellious Sinner Deserves Hell; Instead God has absorbed his/her sin by dying in their place so that they may live with Him in eternity. God hates the wicked--this is why God judges so that the wicked may be dealt with. God has given the wicked (us) a love covering so that we may no longer live lost without Him rather we can live righteous with Him.
The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
And His soul hates one who loves violence.
6 He will rain [c]coals of fire upon the wicked,
And brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves [d]righteousness;
The upright will see His face. --Psalm 11:5-6
God’s answer to humanity’s sin was to come to them, live with them, be with them, exist with them and die for them. God literally gave himself to death as the most unjust action ever known to history so that our sin can be absorbed, covered by Him—this is the most loving thing ever known to humanity.
1. God is above everything on earth; He uses Assyria to destroy Israel, Judah as a form of judgement for their sin. God judges His people because they are not living rightly so His perfect justice must bring them back into righteousness. Isaiah 8:6-8
2. God tells His people, through Isaiah, that He is the absolute truth; the only important thing above their world and the world, Isaiah 8:9-15
3. God will come down as a baby to love the world, judge the world and test the world. God’s becoming Immanuel will ultimately bring the faithful and the righteous to Him—it will also anger the wicked and unrighteous. Jesus ultimately is love because He is above everything, including our sin. EVERYTHING rests on God—God is above EVERYTHING. – Isaiah 9:1-7
Is God’s Love Unconditional? No. Just as God gave Ahaz a choice in Isaiah 7—Trust in my “Immanuel” plan or follow your plan to continue corrupting my people and joining Assyria (which will fall eventually). God wanted Ahaz to repent, to turn from himself and turn to God and accept God’s love, to let God cover Him.
God’s love has been accomplished, God’s wrath was been put on himself on the cross and in death, so that you may live—the condition? Repent, turn to God, turn from yourself, love God, have faith in Him—you will be given life.
That little baby born to Mary and Joseph, the fulfilment of the Isaiah Prophecy given 800+ years before, is proof that the God of the Universe is above everything including your sin. God hates sin, He hates rebellion but He believes in His people to choose Him over that wickedness. Turn to Jesus, your life depends on it.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. – 2 Corinthians 5:20-21