But in that coming day
no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
their vindication will come from me.
I, the Lord, have spoken! Isaiah 54:17
Israel stood on the block, naked in her shame. She was clothed only in her titles: “Adulteress”, “Proud boaster”, “Liar”, “Cheat”, “Murderer”, “Scandal”, “Thief”, “Harlot”.
Sold into exile for her trespasses, she had suffered much and long in cruel Assyria when Yahweh could stand the pain no more. He leaned down, parted her hair and whispered in her ear, “Get up. Your sad days are over and your sins are pardoned…and you, yes, you, will from this day forward silence every voice raised up to accuse you.
You will do this, Israel. When those ugly faces rise and call you whore, call you failed, call you a joke, you’ll stand up to higher height and throw down their words as they come across the air. Not one will make it through the gap to pierce you. You’ll shoot them all down, though they aim straight for your heart. I can’t do it for you. It’s yours to do. I’ll string the bow, but you must shoot.
You say, “I have no right to refute them for all their claims are true”. But I ask you whose right it is to pardon or to accuse. Who sits on the judgement seat? Is their throne higher than Mine?”
I say that you will silence them because your vindication comes from Me. This is a benefit enjoyed, yes, enjoyed- wallowed in, received, soaked up, believed, accepted, wielded and hidden behind.
This invitation to silence your Accuser is your birthright. It’s bought with the stripes of One who looked Condemnation square in the face and laid him out cold.
Your name is now perfection, write it on your tag. I know it seems too good to be true that you, a harlot, are now called acceptable, and your rotten places are now made whole. But that’s where the motivation to thanks flowers full.
I’ve squared your ledger, but you’ve got to hold it fast when the voice calls to collect “his due”. That’s the challenge. The Accuser of old has had his share of practice. And every saint has run his gauntlet.
He appeared one day in the Lord’s court and was asked, “Where have come from?”, “From roaming to and fro about the earth”. That prowling lion with mauling on his mind has a man in his teeth every minute.
You know what it feels like when he rips in, and it sounds like the truth: “failure”, “idiot”, “worthless”, “hopeless”, “who do you think you are”, “alone”.
He’ll get you if you don’t resist. If you don’t pick up your birthright and fight.
Triumph is yours if you’re willing to plant your feet and trembling hold up the seal of forgiveness on the deed to your soul.
We, like Israel, have a right to be accused. But could we dare, as she, to buck our backs when the Accuser comes to bind his words to our minds? Can we refuse to be gullible and weak when he blows his winds of hopelessness and grief? It’s our birthright to wage war, to wield hope and stand strong.
And on whose authority?
“I, the Lord, have spoken”. I’ve sealed it with My signet, with my own name, and when anyone who doesn’t know it rises to shame you, you’ll show them my cord and my seal. I, the Lord, have spoken.
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors… Isaiah 54:11
*the image above is William Blake’s illustration of the Accuser