Doubtless You are our Father, though Abraham was ignorant of us and Israel does not acknowledge us, You oh Lord are our Father, our Redeemer from everlasting is Your name. (Isaiah 63:16)
Today’s big question: how do we begin to appreciate the authority of God?
The prophets spent a great deal of time ministering when Israel had turned its back on God. Although God chose the Israelites, they often had more of a desire to worship the pagan gods. As a result, they spent much of their time under the chastisement of the true God. During those times, the prophets were often in prayer for the people—those were great prayers of repentance for a nation in the grips of idolatry.
One of the biggest problems for Israel was that they failed to recognize their real authority. Considering such a rich patriarchal history, it would be easy for any Israelite to claim their great heritage in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel)—and many did (John 8:39). These men were the great fathers of Israel.
It was in such patriarchal pride that Israel had “missed the forest for the trees.” They had overlooked the most primary and foundational fact: these fathers were given their places of patriarchy from One in absolute authority over them. These fathers received their blessing from the true Father who gave birth to a nation.
Isaiah realized that no mere man had any authority to forgive the sins of Israel, and bring them back to a recognition that they belonged to God. It was not going to be Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob who would save them from their rebellion and resulting persecution.
In a great foundational statement of recognition, Isaiah’s prayer for Israel starts with a true appreciation of who God is. He is doubtless “our Father.” It was without question for Isaiah that patriarchal pride was wrong. We cannot be saved by our earthly patriarchs, as they are sinners just like us.
God, the Creator, is the only true authority. This is the foundational starting point for Isaiah’s prayer. Isaiah’s self-evident truth requires no proof, and this is why it is doubtless. This doubtless acceptance of God as the only true Father is a great starting point of our appreciation of His authority.
Many Americans today speak loudly about going back to our founding fathers, but the patriarchs of America were sinners just like the patriarchs of Israel. It is not in the founding fathers or the founding documents that America will find the solution to the decline of Christianity in our country. Only in the Word of God will we find any authoritative turning point for the people. We will appreciate the authority of God when we are also able to echo Isaiah’s acknowledgement that God is undoubtedly the authority to whom we need to turn.
Today’s big idea: God is the only true Father with ultimate authority that we all need to turn to.
What to pray: give God your allegiance to His authentic fatherhood.