In the first part of chapter 65 God distinguishes between those of his people who have consistently shunned him and the faithful minority or remnant who have honoured him. In verses 1 to 5 God declares that he “revealed” himself to Israel before they sought him, but despite his continued petitions for them to walk in his ways they persisted in provoking him by their flagrant idolatry. Next, in verses 6 and 7, God pledges to “pay back” Israel for their disobedience. “Both your sins and the sins of your fathers” is an assertion that God is committed to punishing the cumulative sins of past generations as well (the idea is not that one generation has to be punished for the sins of past generations, but rather that the former sins have been consistently committed by the present generation who face God’s wrath for their idolatrous actions).
In verses 8 to 10 attention is drawn to the preservation of the faithful remnant within Israel by way of the analogy of juice remaining in a bunch of grapes. “My people who seek me” denotes the believing remnant. The old division between the two kingdoms of Israel will no longer be apparent in the restored community. The remnant is promised prosperity in Canaan. In contrast, in verses 11 and 12, we see that the unbelieving among Israel who have forsaken God’s ways and given themselves to pagan practices will be judged most severely in a manner consistent with God’s enemies. In verses 13 to 16, the blessings to be enjoyed by the faithful in the community are contrasted with the afflictions to be suffered by the unfaithful in order to highlight the doom of unbelieving Israel. “You will leave your name to my chosen ones as a curse” means that whenever a curse is invoked in the future the fate of the unbelieving Israel will serve as an illustration. “To his servants he will give another name” most probably relates to the “new name” of 62:2 as a reference to those who will be highly favoured by God.
Those who have accepted Jesus can be said to have a “new name” in terms of their identity in Christ. We have been redeemed from slavery and brought into sonship with the same rights and privileges as Jesus; his eternal destiny and inheritance is our eternal destiny and inheritance! We have been adopted, the Holy Spirit within us bearing witness that we are children of God! Friends, our objective status has indeed changed – don’t forget it; believe it by faith – but this isn’t just about a forensic truth; no, we are those who can know the reality of the Father’s affirmation and love telling us “I love you as I love my Son”! Read about these things in Romans 8:15-17 and Romans 5:5. In an age where we have an emerging generation wanting labels and wanting to belong to a group often for the sake of a sense of solidarity, security and identity, the truth is that true freedom and significance is only found in Jesus!
PRAYER: Look at the words taken from scripture about our identity in Christ. Use this to bring your prayers of thanks and praise to God.
SONG: I am blessed