ODJ: the tone of grace

February 16, 2016 

READ: Isaiah 60:1-10 

I will now have mercy on you through my grace (v.10).

I once had a difficult interaction with one of my sons. He had made several poor choices requiring a serious conversation. My son had a tender heart, however (as he often does), and he took responsibility for his behavior. Though I was frustrated with him, I told him that I forgave him. Later, aware that something was still bothering my son, I asked what was going on. “Well,” he replied, “you said you forgave me, but you didn’t exactly say it in a lovely tone.” My son picked up how I offered the right words, but the way I spoke told a different story. I said I forgave him, but I didn’t interact with a tone of grace.

The prophet Isaiah wrote to God’s people, warning them of the hardships they would endure because of their stubborn and persistent refusal to be true to the One to whom they belonged. Even though the “darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,” this darkness would not ultimately consume Judah (Isaiah 60:2). In fact, eventually the very nations God had used to get the attention of God’s people would be the same “foreigners [who] will come to rebuild [their] towns” (v.10). God’s entire posture was, beginning to end, infused with grace. Even His sternness came wrapped in grace.

The families of God’s people would be reunited. The temple, as well as Jerusalem, would return to its magnificence and glory (vv.1-3). The people would erupt in joy and revelry. All would be well. All would be grace.

When God forgives us, He forgives us through and through—holding nothing back. He doesn’t harbor resentment or look at us with disdain. It’s not merely that He chooses to make a gracious gesture toward us, for His tone is gracious and kind.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Exodus 32:1-29

Read Psalm 139:17-18. How does the psalmist describe God’s thoughts concerning us? Does the idea of God having “precious” thoughts about you change the way you think He views you? 
Where is it most difficult for you to believe that God always moves toward you with grace? How would it change your posture toward God (and yourself) if you believed that God’s heart is always gracious toward you?