Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Isaiah 53:1 NIV
Interesting questions. I think I would have reversed the order. Maybe asking to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? And then following with the question, Ok, now who has believed what the arm of the Lord has revealed. Learn about God first; then decide to believe.
However, knowing that the Old Testament writers often stated their thoughts in parallel lines, restating them if you will, I think Isaiah is telling us that God reveals Himself to those who believe. He means God doesn’t uncover His goodness and majesty in the face of unbelief. There is a verse in the New Testament where Jesus cautions us about throwing pearls to swine. Perhaps this would be a case of doing just that.
It makes sense. Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” The believer recognizes the voice of the shepherd, the non-believer does not. Why not? He doesn’t know the shepherd. Nothing about God is known to him.
This Isaiah passage is found quoted in Romans 10:16: “But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’”. And verse 17 continues, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” NIV The message is not always accepted.
God reveals Himself to the believer; the one that does accept the message. Until faith was worked in our hearts through hearing about God’s love for us through Jesus Christ, we didn’t know God is Love. We didn’t know all things work together for our good. We didn’t know God had plans for us. We didn’t get it.
And neither does the unbeliever. He just doesn’t get it. And guess what that means for you and for me? We need to get out the message of the gospel. Our non-Christian friends are not going to come to faith through communing with nature. They are not going to see our good works and come to faith. They are unlikely to seek out a church hoping to hear of Christ’s love. They don’t know the Shepherd’s voice. Faith comes through hearing the message of salvation through the words of Jesus Christ. They need to hear those words from us.
And when, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they do indeed believe the message, God will reveal Himself to them in a way they never understood before. And they will be able to call Him “Father” and know His loving care.
Heavenly Father, We know that you would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. You have shown us that this knowledge comes only through the good news of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for revealing Yourself to us and keep us ever mindful of the many who live in unbelief; who know nothing of Your love. Help us to be ready with the saving gospel on our lips, that they may know You in all Your glory. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen