Chastisement And Forgiveness      

Isaiah 33:24


     Isaiah 33 is a message from God to his people who were in the depths of utter extremity by reason of their own unbelief and sin.When Jerusalem had been made to drink the bitter dregs of God's providential chastisement, in their desperate need they sought the Lord. As soon as they did, the Lord God gave them this word of promised grace - "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick:the people shall be forgiven their iniquity." Four things are clearly implied in that word of promise:

     First, our heavenly Father wisely and lovingly chastens his erring children. Jerusalem was in the mess it was in because of her own sin and unbelief. To correct her for her sin God brought upon the city a severe,providential judgment. It was a judgment, not of wrath,but of mercy, love, and grace. Be sure you understand this - God does not punish his people for sin, in the strict sense of the word "punish". He punished our sins in Christ, when he suffered the wrath of God as our Substitute. But God does correct his children for sin. With the rod of correction he drives the sin which he hates from the child he loves (Heb. 12:5-11).

     But,secondly,forgiveness is promised to every penitent sinner. "The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity." Here, forgiveness is promised to God's erring, fallen,sinful saints.Child of God, rejoice in your Father's goodness. As he forgave Hezekiah and Judah, so he will forgive us (I John 2:1-2)!

     Thirdly, as soon as the rod of correction has done its work, sin is confessed, forgiveness is sought, and forgiveness is granted (I John 1:9). As soon as Hezekiah and the people of Judah were humbled, they sought the Lord (II Kings 19:1-5). And as soon as they sought the Lord, they found forgiveness and received the promise of deliverance (II Kings 19:6-7).

     Fourthly, when sin is forgiven the rod of correction is removed. Jerusalem was about to be ruined by pestilence. But when God promised forgiveness, he promised to remove both the pestilence and the sickness it had brought, saying, "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick." What great grace! Our God not only forgives our sin, he also delivers us from the consequences of our sin. Believer,as soon as you confess your sin, your Father will both forgive it and deliver you from the trouble your sin has brought (Isa. 54:7-10; Rev. 3:20).


Don Fortner