When God Reasons with Us – Words of Grace Blog – December 15, 2023

When God Reasons with Us – Words of Grace Blog – December 15, 2023

If you ever thought that relating to God is a simple “do as I say” kind of thing, and that there is no real interpersonal interaction with him, Isaiah 40 will change your mind.

One of the many things that makes this chapter of the Bible so interesting is that in it God is reasoning with his people. Yes, they are to do as he says. But God graciously works with them to get them to trust and obey.

Let’s be clear. The kind of reasoning going on here is not like we do with each other. God is not trying to convince his people to see things his way so he can get his way. He is not in need of their cooperation. This kind of reasoning is not taking place among equal parties who are trying to make a mutual decision or sort out their relationship.

God is reasoning with his people to build their faith in him. He is walking them along a thought path to get them to himself and to trust in him. This is a gracious act on God’s part toward a despondent people who are in great need.

Here is how God reasoned with his people in Isaiah 40.

People from Judah and Jerusalem are in exile in Babylon. They are there as discipline for their sin. God has announced that the time of exile is coming to an end, their sins are forgiven, and they will see his glory as he leads them home.

But they wonder. Is it true? Will God really deliver and renew them? Can he? Or, has the Lord forgotten about them? Is their plight out of his sight?

While the people are in this state of uncertainty, God begins his reasoning with them. With a series of rhetorical questions, he captures their imagination and corrals their thoughts around his sovereign power and watchful care over them.

God asks if anyone can hold and measure the created world? Is anyone wise enough to give him guidance? Are there enough resources among the nations to offer sacrifices worthy of his greatness? Is God like an idol of wood, stone, or metal? Is he like the feeble rulers and supposed powerful people of the world who wither at the first strong wind?

God questions them about their education. Have they forgotten what has been revealed from the beginning of time and what they learned from childhood, that it is he who rules over all?

Finally, he asks them to consider the stars. If they were created by him and they come out at night because he calls them by name, do they really think he has forgotten their names? Can they say that the God who created all will become too tired to care for them? That the one who has made a covenant with them will forget it?

Question after question, step by step, God leads them to a reasonable faith. He is the reason to believe.

Then comes the promise. Those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength.

This seems to me to be the story of our lives in Christ. We are in an interactive relationship with him. By his Word and Spirit, he transforms us by the renewing of our minds. He reasons with us according to what is true about him. This is his daily strategy to keep us in faith and faithful to him.

This weekend, read Isaiah 40 again. Compare it with Matthew 6:25-34 and Romans 8:31-39. Let the Lord reason you into renewal.