The Real Problem

Alec Motyer

READ : Isaiah 48:1-22

“No peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” (v. 22)

“If only things were different. . . . If only my family were not quite so difficult! .
. . If only I had better health.” How often we feel that a change of circumstances would
make all the difference. And, of course, it would make a difference. But it would never
make all the difference, because our circumstances are never the real problem.

How often must Israel, exiled in Babylon, have said, “If only we were back at home!”
And the Lord, with truly amazing grace, met their wish. It was “amazing” grace, because,
as Isaiah saw, they had really forfeited all claim on God. Israel—that’s what they
called themselves. “But not,” says Isaiah, “in truth or right” (v. 1). The people were
stubborn in unbelief (v. 4), apt to attribute the Lord’s acts to some idol (v. 5), puffed
up with conceit (v. 7), rebellious (v. 8). Yet God will still redeem them and miraculously
bring them home (vv. 20-21).

Whether home or away, the real problem remained: those who are out of step with the
Lord cannot know his peace (v. 22). Our real need is to be right with God. Fretting about
circumstances keeps us out of sorts with him. Whatever your day is like, listen to the
voice that says, “Your sins are forgiven” (Matt. 9:2).

PRAYER

Prayer: “Jesus, keep me near the cross!”