For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. Isaiah 54:7
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. Ephesians 2:4–5
A human being can go 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, or 3 weeks without food – give or take a minute, day, or week or two. I’m not certain we can go even a second without God. So the revelation that God had abandoned his people – even for a brief moment – is stunning and difficult to fathom. Who would want to endure God’s abandonment for even a brief moment?
The message here, however, is a comparison between God’s judgment, punishment, and discipline to his gracious compassion and saving mercy. Israel had been abandoned by God for a brief moment. There had been a time of God’s judgment during the Babylonian Captivity. But now God was gathering his people once again; and that with great compassion.
So too with our salvation. God’s judgment against sin is clear: “The soul that sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That is what Jesus endured for us and our salvation. He was forsaken by God on the cross, but he remained faithful to the end. He is now exalted to God’s right hand. And God in his grace credits Christ’s righteousness to those who believe in him.
God is rich in mercy, and powerful in grace. He reaches into our lives when we have wandered from his ways and brings us back to himself and to life. Perhaps you feel abandoned by God. Maybe you have wandered far from his ways. Take heart and hear his call to return, and rejoice in God’s goodness and mercy, love and grace. Rejoice in his gracious redemption in Christ Jesus our Lord.