At that time God will unsheathe his sword, his merciless, massive, mighty sword.
He’ll punish the serpent Leviathan as it flees, the serpent Leviathan thrashing in flight.
He’ll kill that old dragon
that lives in the sea.
“At that same time, a fine vineyard will appear.
There’s something to sing about!
I, God, tend it.
I keep it well-watered.
I keep careful watch over it
so that no one can damage it.
I’m not angry. I care.
Even if it gives me thistles and thornbushes,
I’ll just pull them out
and burn them up.
Let that vine cling to me for safety,
let it find a good and whole life with me,
let it hold on for a good and whole life.” (Isa 27:1-5 – The Message)
One of the words the Bible uses to define our human condition is vessels. A vessel contains something. It either contains sin or it contains righteousness. Sin found its dwelling place in man after the fall, and we thus understand that sin and the devil are equal terms in the scripture. Every person who accepts Christ is cleansed from that former indweller. When it comes to the serpent God is merciless and kills him so that there is no risk seeing him returning to the sea, that is, our spirits.
When this passage refers to “that time” it refers to the dispensation which came into effect after the cross. We who are regenerated are the fine vineyard, where He is the vine and we are the branches abiding in Him producing His fruit. A different translation says: “…every moment I water it.” According to my calculations every moment is every new now. He who is the great I AM lives in the now, and He sustains us every moment of our being. In fact He more than sustains it, He keeps it well watered so it never lacks, but has an abundance of every good thing.
I believe it is not too far stretched to view the sea as a type of our consciousnesses. We all know how we are composed of conscious torrents and subconscious torrents. When everything is well our seas are calm. However, when the gale is coming our way the waves rise. He who lived in our private sea is dead. He loved to whip up the sea. Our Father who now reigns over the sea secures us that we are safe with Him.
“I am not angry. I care”, He says. A multitude of Christians still believe that God is angry with them. Carefully they watch every step they take, they are obsessed with confession in order to mitigate an angry God. This passage clearly states that God isn’t angry with us. His anger is directed towards the indwelling sin who has usurped His dwelling place. The fact is that He has never been angry with us. The indwelling sin, however, has been well aware of His fury towards it, and of course this has been imprinted on our consciousnesses. The Spirit is now thus convincing us about our righteousness and His love, which slowly but surely will liberate us from the bondage of fear.
What are thistles and thorn bushes, we might ask. Man’s main occupation since the fall has been to build his own righteousness. Whether that has been by observing the law or attempting to erect a sense of worth through other means is of less interest. However, it is a well ingrained habit, so those thorns are self-effort. Our Father lovingly pulls them out by letting us come to end of ourselves, to the point where we give up and accept that He is our life.
Why would God, who is joined one spirit with us and who lives in us be angry with us, that is, Himself? He never makes any mistakes, He is perfect and He indwells us. To assert that God is angry with us is the same as saying that He is angry with Himself. That is a ludicrous idea. In Him we find a good and whole life. That is our destiny. This life is expressed as us. That is our work, that is the pinnacle of faith; self-expression!