Halloween is nearly upon us. Christmas is right around the corner. And let’s not overlook Thanksgiving (the day we all are grateful for what we have, right before we fight our neighbors at the store that evening).
Holidays are just one of the many things we celebrate. There’s also birthdays, life changes, sporting events, the next day of the week (ahem, New Year’s).
Yes, we celebrate a lot. But do we celebrate God?
That’s what God was asking me when I read these two verses in Isaiah:
12 You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
– Isaiah 12:1-2 (ESV)
The prophet celebrated God in his life. He looked at who God is and what God has done and was moved to sing and dance for joy. Well, maybe he didn’t dance, but David did (2 Sam 6:14). Regardless, Isaiah clearly celebrated God and the grace he gives.
In this passage, Isaiah mentions four things he was celebrating when it came to God – and every believer in Jesus can celebrate these same things, too.
Isaiah Celebrated Being Forgiven
Forgiveness and compassion aren’t New Testament concepts; they are biblical concepts. In verse 1, Isaiah states that God’s anger was “turned away.” That is, God forgave him.
When we repent of our sins, God forgives us, turning away his anger and wrath. Being forgiven is liberating. Being forgiven is enriching. Being forgiven is worth celebrating!
Isaiah Celebrated God’s Help
God didn’t stop with forgiving Isaiah, he helped him. Isaiah says God gave comfort (v. 1) and strength (v. 2).
Those who put their faith in the Lord will find their strength renewed and their spirits lifted (cf. Isa 40:30-31). When we are weak, God is strong, enabling us to get through difficulties, trials, and whatever is holding us down (cf. 2 Cor 12:10).
God is able to break the chains that enslave us and keep us from being all God has called us to be. God is our help, and this should motivate us to celebrate!
Isaiah Celebrated His Personal Relationship with God
In many religions, God is some being out there somewhere. He’s often depicted as a toy man who spins the top of life and then sits back and watches.
However, that’s not the God of the Bible. That’s not the God whom Isaiah served. Rather, God is a personal God who has a personal relationship with his children.
Twice, Isaiah used the personal name of God: Yahweh (all-caps “LORD” in many translations). He’s not merely God out there somewhere. Instead, he’s God right here with us.
The fact that Isaiah had a personal relationship with the creator of everything was reason for him to sing and celebrate (and maybe dance). We, too, through Jesus, have a personal relationship with God. And, like Isaiah, we should celebrate this!
Isaiah Celebrated Being Saved
Three. That’s how many times Isaiah referenced his salvation: once indirectly and twice directly.
As stated already, Isaiah mentioned forgiveness in verse 1. This is also an indirect reference to being saved by God. In verse 2, Isaiah twice specifically mentioned “salvation.”
Isaiah recognized the glory and awesomeness that is salvation. We are sinners, enemies of God (cf. Rom 5:10). However, by God’s grace alone through faith in Messiah alone, we are transported from being enemies of God to children of God.
Isaiah knew this and celebrated with great joy. We should celebrate, too!
Bringing it Home
We celebrate all sorts of things in life: holiday, sports, life events, etc. It doesn’t take much for us to throw a party. But do we celebrate God as excitedly as we do the dawn of a new month?
People find ways to celebrate being physically born, but do we celebrate being spiritually reborn?
We celebrate when our team does something good, but what about the fact that God is greater and did even better things?
Do we celebrate God? If not, how can we start celebrating him and what he has done?