The Nostalgic God
“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.” (Isaiah 54:9)
When God brings up the past, it is always to reveal His gracious character. When God gets nostalgic, it is to show what He intended. When God reminisces, He tells us how it benefits us. God is. So when He reflects on the past, it is history to us . . . not Him. When God speaks of something that happened a long time ago, it is to help us understand something. For all we know, He is in that time (in the past), in the time now (present), and in the future. All at the same time. From our perspective, it is a memory. From His perspective, it just is.
I can’t think about this much. My mind has a hard time going there. If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I need to go pick up a couple of pieces of my North Alabama brain that just exploded.
Consider this, however. After God revealed to Isaiah how the sins of His people are to be atoned (see Isaiah 53), He is able to declare how they can rejoice and be together (see Isaiah 54). In this declaration, God remembers. He compares something that happened in the past to make a point about something that is happening now.
Ever wonder why God promised Noah He would never flood the earth again? Kind of weird, right? I mean, if He – in a sense – “started over” because of human sin and depravity, why couldn’t He do it again if He wanted to? I guess He could have. But He chose not to. He chose hundreds and hundreds of years ago to never flood the earth again. He promised. Every time we see a rainbow in the sky – after a good rain – it is a reminder that God told the clouds to hold up. He promised not to do that again.
And He has kept His promise.
There has been flooding. There has been seasons of a lot of rain. There will probably be more seasons of a lot of rain and more flooding in the days to come. But there has never been a time since Noah when the entire earth flooded. God kept His promise. He stuck to His word. He, as always, is faithful. If God said He wouldn’t do it again, then He will not do it again.
Now consider. . .
He brings up the days of Noah AFTER He reveals how He can dwell with sinners (again, see Isaiah 53). It’s as if God is excited in His reminiscing. He is almost nostalgic about His promise to never flood the earth again. Why?
To show us something. To teach us something. To blow our minds. To shock us with awe and wonder. To make known to us the ways of our great and gracious God.
Just as He promised never to flood the earth again (which, He has faithfully held to), He promises never to be angry with us or rebuke us again.
Go back and read that again. Seriously. I’ll wait. Now, just to be sure I didn’t misrepresent God, go back to the top and read Isaiah 54:9 again. Again. . . I’ll wait.
God kept His promise to never flood the earth again. You can go to the bank on that. You can trust it. You can rely on it. You can rest assured the earth has not (since the days of Noah) and will not ever again be flooded with water. THAT same level of commitment. THAT same level of promise. THAT same level of faithfulness. THAT same intensity of assurance. THAT is what God uses to promise He will never be angry with His children again.
Because of Jesus, God is not and never will be mad at you. God is not angry at you. God cannot (because He has chosen and committed not to) be angry with you. Go back and read that sentence again. God cannot be angry with you. He promised.
He took out all the anger against us in our sin and rebellion on His Son (Isaiah 53). Therefore, GOD. IS. NOT. MAD.
Whatever you are feeling right now, you can rest assured that the Father who sent us Jesus is not angry at you. He is not mad at you. He promised it. In fact, He promises to be for you, with you, compassionate on you, and – get this – delight in you.
If you were to ask God today, “You mad?” He would say, “Nope. Promised I never would be again. Now, let’s talk. I want to be with you, in a safe, intimate relationship.”
So tell me. . . how does knowing this impact your understanding of God?
Go pick up some of the pieces of your mind that just exploded and let your heart go there. He ain’t mad. He desires to be with.