“Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Have you experienced the “blow” of the Lord? Israel was a stubborn group. They had the Law from Moses and an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the wisdom of following that particular path as the only way to life and flourishing, but still, they constantly looked at the nations around them with envy in their hearts.
They looked to those nations and began following their paths, at first as well, and then instead. Yet God knew this change on their part would not lead to either life or flourishing and so after warning them through the prophets over and over again, He finally brought the weight of His discipline down on their heads. He struck them with the reality of the results of their decision.
Again, have you ever experienced the blow of the Lord? Have you ever known His discipline? It is not a pleasant thing. Thankfully, the Scriptures never suggest it should be. In fact, they are rather explicit that it will be nearly unbearable and leave us questioning whether or not God is really for us anymore. How about that? The very words that are intended to reveal and point us to a relationship with Him also assure us that there are going to be times on our journeys with Him that will leave us questioning whether or not that relationship is something we really want at all. If nothing else, the honesty should be refreshing.
Do you know what else the Scriptures reveal about this time? God does not allow us to face them without a heavy heart. Like any good and loving parent, He does not delight in our having to be disciplined in order to stay on the right path. He would infinitely prefer that we walked it willingly all the time. But, He is much more committed to our holiness than our happiness; to our walking the path to life ultimately, than He is to our walking another path free from pain and trouble.
In other words, before He will let us walk a path of destruction, He will afflict us. He will wound us. He will strike us with discipline of some kind in order to get our attention, in order to alert us to the fact that we are on a path that will lead to our eventual deadly harm. In His eyes (and ours too when we are thinking clearly), the pain from the discipline, while perhaps severe, will be several orders of magnitude less severe and painful than we will experience walking the path of destruction we are currently on.
So, yes, God will deliver us a blow from out of His love for us if He thinks it will call us from a path of destruction back to the path of life. But, it is a sign of His love for us. And, even as He moves to discipline us, He does so with the promise of restoring us to the spacious plain of His grace when we have come back to the path of life.
That’s what Isaiah is promising in these words. God may have afflicted the people with judgment and discipline, but He will restore them. He will restore them and help them to stay on the path of life in the future. He promises us the same. He may move to discipline us to get our attention and call us back to the path of life, but when we begin walking it again, He will remove the discipline and turn it into blessing. And blessing is His goal all along. He is a God who prefers to bless, not discipline. But, because He wants us to enjoy the blessing, He will bring us discipline when we need it. This is a God worth serving.