“But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” (Isaiah 7:13-14 ESV).
I cannot get away from the vastness of our God in this study. If I obey, He has a plan and a promise. If I disobey, He has a plan and a promise. If I focus on Him, He has a plan and a promise. If I forget Him, He has a promise. Wherever I turn, He is there.
In this passage, the first thing I noticed was the “stone of offense” line. It always reminds me of that lyric from “Meditation/Baptism” from Michael Card’s brilliant project, The Life. Well, I guess that song actually reminds me of this verse. Our God is a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling. When I was young, I always assumed this was addressed to non-believers. And it made sense. An all-powerful Savior that dies. God born as a baby. Of course it would cause stumbling. But reading it this time, I realize that God is addressing Israel, His people. We are the ones who will be offended and who will stumble. That changes the meaning fairly drastically.
The second thing I noticed was that He is not just a stone of offense, but is also a sanctuary. God is always complete. He is never just angry, not just justice. He is never only mercy, just grace. He is always both. He is never only Father, Son, or Spirit. He is always all of them. So if we recognize Him, worship as only one of His attributes, we are worshipping an idol. It is not the true God. It seems like a heady, theological argument, but it’s really not. It really applies all the time. Every time God is our judge, He is also our lover. There is great comfort to be found in that. Every time He is our guide, He is also all-knowing. There is great confidence to be found in that. Every time He is gracious and graceful, He is also hating every bit of our sin. So, His love is not an empty overlooking of our mistakes, but a passionate, overwhelming love that completely understands who we are, what we’ve done and loves us anyway.