“For the Lord is our Judge,
The Lord is our Lawgiver,
The Lord is our King;
He will save us”
Israel, in Isaiah’s day, was in dire straights. The Assyrians were on a rampage, overthrowing any nation that stood in the way of their desire for global dominance. Israel watched as their neighbors were defeated and enslaved to the most bloodthirsty nation the world had ever known. In the midst of these threatening conditions, people began to offer solutions. The most common was to make an allegiance with Egypt to withstand the Assyrian invasion. Isaiah offered an entirely different remedy. He encouraged the people to understand, it was God who could save them. But in order for this to happen, they would have to look at Him very differently than they had been doing. He used three words to describe a proper relationship with God.
First he refers to God as the Judge. This word was used in Israel for those who ruled over the people. If Israel was to be delivered, they must return to allowing God to rule over them, instead of following the dictates of their own hearts. Today, it very common for people to assume there is no absolute standard of right and wrong, and each person must do what is right in their own eyes. This is not a new concept, it was prevalent in Isaiah’s day and led to the collapse of the nation. The first step to deliverance is to allow God to be our judge.
Second, Isaiah refers to God as the Lawgiver. This word means exactly what it says. God is the one who sets the laws for mankind to follow. He has given moral laws to keep us in check and to lead us to His provision for our salvation. What we call the Ten Commandments, are a set of standards that will create a healthy living environment for mankind. However, they will also show us, we are unable to keep them on our own. Their purpose is to lead us to Christ, the one who forgives all sin, and makes us right with God. Today, there are those who are passionately oppose to the law of God. They are attempting to remove His commands from schools, courthouses, and other public places, as though these laws were dangerous and destructive. Imagine for a moment what our nation would be like if we kept them. No murder, dishonesty, theft or destroying of families through sexual misconduct. I wonder why people are so opposed to the law of God?
Finally, Isaiah refers to God as King. A king sits on a throne and rules. Jesus was asked if He was a King, to which He responded, “that is the reason I came into the world” (John 18:37). Jesus did not come to be our personal advisor or friend, as much as He came to rule over us. He is a beneficent ruler, but He is a ruler none the less. The proper place for Him in our life is not as co-pilot, but as king. Deliverance will be found when we allow Him His rightful place.
I think Isaiah’s prescription for Israel is as necessary today as ever.