The books of the prophets in the Old Testament are filled with warnings of approaching wrath and judgment. God’s justice is important, and it’s encouraging to remember that He will always have the final victory over those who rebel against His holiness. But even so, it’s easy to get lost amidst all of the bad news and wonder if there’s ever relief from the endless cycle of sin and judgment.
The book of Isaiah is one of the most complete revelations of God’s character in the Bible. Isaiah thrusts the reader into the darkest of days under the heaviest of God’s punishments then pulls him back up to the brightest, highest of mountaintops. One such mountaintop is in chapter 54. After a book full of judgment upon judgment, God promises that His mercy once bestowed upon His people will never cease. The cycle will stop, and judgment on His people will end.
Salvation from the holy wrath of an all-powerful God is more than anyone could ask for. To have a sure foundation that we can stand on is more blessing than we could deserve. But God, knowing what His people have been through, goes beyond simply promising a foundation. In soft and tender words, God reveals not only His mercy but also His infinite kindness, love, and tenderness: “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted.” Speaking soft words, He promises them, “Behold, I will set thy stones in fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy pinnacles of rubies, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy border of precious stone.”
Like a Father promising good gifts to the children in whom He delights, God promises His people that He will decorate the foundation and the dwelling of their life in color. They will not only be saved; they will be beautiful.
All people on earth are in one of two states: either they are currently bearing the weight of unpardoned sin, or they used to be. We all know what it’s like to be in danger of God’s impending wrath. Once saved, we are forever secure from condemnation. But beyond that, God has promised us blessings beyond what might enter into the mind of man. The work will not be complete until we are called to meet our Lord, but as we grow to be more like Christ, we can look at Him, the foundation of our lives, and see something beautiful, something colorful, something that reveals the kindness of our heavenly Father.