the furnace of unhappiness

June 2015 (14)Isaiah 48:1-11

1 Listen to this, O family of Jacob, you who are called by the name ‘Israel,’ and are descended from Judah, who take oaths in the name of Yahveh, and invoke the God of Israel– but not in an honest and just manner. 2 Indeed, they live in the holy city; they trust in the God of Israel, whose name is Yahveh who leads armies. 3 “I announced events beforehand, I issued the decrees and made the predictions; suddenly I acted and they came to pass. 4 I did this because I know how stubborn you are. Your neck muscles are like iron and your forehead like bronze. 5 I announced them to you beforehand; before they happened, I predicted them for you, so you couldn’t say, ‘My image did these things, my idol, my cast image, decreed them.’ 6 You have heard; now look at all the evidence! Will you not admit that what I say is true? From this point on I am announcing to you new events that are undisclosed and you do not know about. 7 Now they come into being, not in the past; before today you did not hear about them, so you couldn’t say, ‘Yes, I know about those things.’ 8 You did not hear, you do not know, you were not told beforehand. Because I know that you are very deceitful; you were labelled a rebel from birth. 9 For the sake of my reputation I hold back my anger; for the sake of my prestige I restrain myself from destroying you. 10 Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have purified you in the furnace of unhappiness. 11 For my sake alone I will act, for how can I allow my name to be defiled? I will not share my glory with anyone else.

the furnace of unhappiness

Long after Isaiah’s death, all of his predictions came true. What God was doing was for the purpose of refining Israel, ridding his people of their pride and idolatry. In the end, those long centuries of the furnace of unhappiness had a positive result: God alone was glorified. And, to this people, humbled by suffering, God sent his Son, and our Saviour. Everything happens for a reason.


About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is a former Christian missionary who now lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. If your church or small group would like to hear Jeff speak, you can contact him at -- !
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