I was struck recently by some verses in Isaiah 63. The union of God with his people and the way he enters into their afflictions and upholds them is clearly revealed in this passage. This is no aloof God who has "wound up the world and it is just ticking away"… rather, he is engaged in the troubles of his people, cares for them like a father, showers them with undeserved kindness and grace, and carries them through the afflictions of life. Perhaps it is my mom's cancer and chemo treatments that have me looking to the Word for reassurance…I'm not sure… but how God delivers in verse 9!
In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
I'll just share a little insight from John Calvin on this verse:
In all their distress he too was distressed
"By speaking in this manner, he declares the incomparable love which God bears toward his people. In order to move us more powerfully and draw us to himself, the Lord accommodates himself to the manner of men, by attributing to himself all the affection, love, and compassion which a father can have."
In his love
"…he shews that there was no other cause for so great benefits than the absolute and undeserved goodness of God."
he lifted them up and carried them…
"The people experienced the grace of God, not only once, when they were redeemed, but during the whole course of their life, so that to him alone ought to be ascribed all the benefits which they have received."