4 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
5 For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
6 For the LORD has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
Says your God.
7 “For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the LORD, your Redeemer.
There are times when I do not feel worthy to worship the Lord our God. At those times, feeling the weight of past sins and current weakness, I doubt my effectiveness as a leader in our congregation. But then suddenly, as I sing out to Him and praise God for His mercy and love and power and majesty, I know that HE makes ME worthy. Then I know that He has called me to glorify Him through my praises as well as through the way I live.
In today’s verses from Isaiah, the Lord God is addressing the people of Israel as His bride, a scattered remnant that He has promised to bless. In Psalm 45:11 we read:
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
We need no other reason to magnify God than the fact that He IS our Lord and Redeemer. And THAT is all the beauty He desires from us. That act of worship is one thing that beautifies us as His bride. Coming back to the passage from Isaiah, we see that the Lord desires that we forget our unworthiness, our shame, our reproach, because our “husband” is none other than the “LORD of hosts” and the “Holy One of Israel” and “God of the whole earth.” (v.5)
Yes, when we have sinned, God will make us face consequences for our sinfulness, and for a time we may feel forsaken. But that does NOT make us unworthy of His love and forgiveness, because “with great mercies I will gather you,” He says, and “with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you.” (v.7-8) God Himself makes us worthy to worship Him by His own mercies. He makes us worthy through His power and holiness when He is “enthroned in the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3) When we come to God to honor Him as our “husband,” then WE are made worthy through HIS worthiness, sanctified by His own holiness and mercy. The mere act of worship drives away our own shame and the reproach of the accuser. Thus we can know that we are NEVER unworthy to praise our God and King.
Lord God Almighty, please forgive me for ever doubting that You find my praises worthy of You. Thank You for Your Holy Word that teaches me to approach You with the boldness of one called to worship, called to love You. Be exalted, Holy Lord, in my praises and in my life, and by Your holiness drive away all my doubts and fears. Amen.