by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Isaiah's God is the Holy One of Israel. In God's presence we have to be morally clean. God has chosen his Servant, who will rule in righteousness in a kingdom of peace.
"Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath" (Isa. 10:5).
The Assyrian empire (824--625 B.C.) was the fearsome power in the days when God spoke what we read in chapter 10. At one time the Assyrians controlled a kingdom from the Tigris River in the east to the Nile in the west.
God calls Assyria the "rod of my anger" because God used Assyria to punish Israel. The Assyrians thought they were conquerors by their own power (vv. 7, 13). God says they should stop their bragging. "Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or the saw boast against him who uses it?" (10:15).
God uses suffering to educate, and a rod to discipline his children. In God's hand a "rod" is not only something painful but also something life-giving. If God had not used the rod on the people of Israel, they would have died out like all the Canaanites and Assyrians who survive only in inscriptions and piles of debris.
Therefore Proverbs 23:13–14 says, "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death."
That's no go-ahead for child abuse, of course. On the contrary, it's an encouragement to love. There's no divine or parental love without discipline. Parents who don't discipline their children don't love them.
By the same token, we may not doubt God's love when we feel pain or sorrow.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version