In a short passage in Isaiah the theme of grieving the Spirit of God and the Spirit of God giving rest to God’s people are clearly mentioned. We need to be warned against grieving the Spirit of God and we can find encouragement and comfort in the fact that the Spirit of God leads us onward and gives us rest.
In the prayer as coming from the lips of one of the exiles of God’s people in Babylon (starting from Isaiah 63:7) God’s loving-kindnesses towards his people are mentioned. God became their Saviour in the expectation that his people will remain true to him. In all their troubles and difficulties he too was afflicted and distressed. The angel of God’s presence saved them and he carried them.
Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit (v. 10). See, many of us are familiar with Ephesians 4:30 which speaks about not grieving the Holy Spirit. But this is not just a truth mentioned in the New Testament alone. Right from the time God began to gather for himself a people, the Holy Spirit has been grieved by the faithlessness and thanklessness of God’s people.
Here in this passage in Isaiah the contrast cannot be missed. God was faithful to his people. He took care of them. But they grieved the Spirit of God.
Without trying to be judgemental, let me ask you to examine your heart. Seek God’s help to search your heart. And find out whether there is anything in your life that is grieving the Spirit of God. Maybe your reading this is a God-given chance to get right with God.
Now in the passage in Isaiah there comes a warning. The God who was with them in their afflictions and who had carried them turned against them and became their enemy and God himself fought against them. See, God is a God who disciplines his children. If you grieve the Spirit of God continuously you might find God fighting against you. And that will be a very disastrous situation.
Yet there is hope. When you give chance to God to work in your life and you set your heart right before God, the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you. He will help you to progress and move ahead in your walk with God without anything creating an obstacle in your path. You will be given rest by the Holy Spirit.
Two images have been used here to tell us about the rest-giving ministry of the Holy Spirit: like a horse in open country and like cattle that go down to the plain. The first image speaks about progress and the second one talks about rest. May you progress led by the Spirit and may you find rest by the Spirit of the Lord.
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