Why sayest thou O Jacob, and speakest O Israel, “My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?” Isaiah 40:27 KJV
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? Isaiah 40:27 NASB
The intent of the Spirit of God, in giving the prophecy of Isaiah 40 to His servant, was twofold: it would serve as an encouragement and reassurance to the Israelites who would find themselves captives in Babylon in less than 200 years; and, it will be an even greater encouragement and source of comfort to a beleaguered remnant facing the amassed might of earthly potentates in a future time of tribulation, prior to the Lord’s advent to earth. But, the complaint or lament of verse 27 would likely have greater relevance to the captives in Babylon as they considered their plight.
Their own sin had led to their bondage. They had forsaken Jehovah and worshiped idols. God had used a sinful nation, the Chaldeans, to chasten His people. Jacob, thinking as a natural man, opined, “What interest can God have in me? And why would God intervene and deliver?” On a purely human level, his logic is airtight and indisputable.
After centuries of pleading and prodding, prophets rising early and speaking for God to the nation – after centuries of intransigence and rebellion marking the nation, the only option left was to allow the nation to reap what it had sown. They deserved nothing of God’s mercy or grace. God, however, would reveal to them the super-abounding riches of His grace and His kindness, as He will to a remnant in a coming day.
But this reminds us of another Who was worthy, not of mercy and grace, but of justice, a justice which would have vindicated Him before the accusations and vilification by men.
As the Lord Jesus stood before men, as He was suspended on a cross, and as He was forsaken by God, there is a sense in which His way was hidden from the Lord. “Why hidest Thou Thy face from Me?” (Ps 88:14). It is true that another Psalm will counter by saying, “neither hath He hid His face from Him; but when He cried unto Him, He heard” (Ps 22:24). This, however, refers to resurrection and not to Calvary. The Lord Jesus was not an unworthy, guilty sufferer in need of mercy. He was a Holy sufferer deserving of justice. But He endured the injustice of man and the judgment of our sins.
As men viewed Him, they “esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God” (Isa 53:4), receiving the judgment He deserved. And heaven was silent. During those hours, His “judgment was passed over” from His God. With self-righteous gloating, His enemies left Golgotha that day feeling they had done God service! But in resurrection, God vindicated the Man men vilified. His judgment was not passed over on that Sunday morning. Though God reversed the verdict of earth by raising His Son from the dead, He has yet to be fully vindicated before the eyes of men. That awaits a day when He comes to reign. God will see to it that His “judgment” or justice is not passed over; He will publicly display the glory of His Son.
- Contrast the words of Isaiah 49:4 in which the Perfect Servant says, “Yet surely My judgment is with the Lord, and My work with My God.” These are not the words of discouragement but of devotion; not of fainting but faith.