The Lord speaks through Isaiah at the beginning of Chapter 63 and then answers the question He just asked: “Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.’” The Lord is presented as returning from battle against Edom, the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau, and the enemy of Israel.
“Why is your apparel red?” God’s garments were stained with the blood of enemies. His mission was required by His holy “vengeance.” The Lord had undertaken a work of powerful “redemption” for a desperate people.
Isaiah uses this striking image of God Himself returning from warfare with the world’s “lifeblood spattered on My garments” in order to further prepare Israel for a future Redeemer who would do battle to deliver His people from the grips of sin.
“I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord.” The only blood that was shed on Christ’s great day of battle was His own. Yet by His death and resurrection He accomplished the greatest victory in the history of the world. Speaking of the Lord’s people and the salvation that came from the Son of God, Isaiah writes, “In all their affliction He was afflicted…. In His love and in His pity He redeemed them.”
Isaiah wrote of Israel’s response to this powerful love of God with words that convict the covenant people of God in every age. “But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit.”
The Lord disciplines those He loves, leading them to His grace. He does this out of love for us, but also for the honor of His own “glorious Name.”
In every generation the Lord’s people continually need His help. We call upon Him with the same ancient cry of His children: “You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your Name.” We may not understand His mysterious works of providence in our lives, but we learn to yield to Him. What other choice do we have? He is God, and His ways are best. Jesus is the One who shed His own blood to save us from eternal destruction. He loves us enough to fight for us, and He will be our God forever.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
God of Vengeance and Justice, You will come to judge, but for our sake You have been willing to sully Your garments with Your own precious blood. You protect us from all our enemies. You have been good to us in the abundance of Your steadfast love. You have saved us through the Messenger of Your presence. You have disciplined us in Your love and righteousness, but You have turned again toward us with a powerful salvation. You have made for Yourself a glorious Name throughout the whole earth. Father, never abandon us. Do not harden our hearts, but change us and overrule our foolishness.