Isaiah 63:16

16 You are our Father. Abraham and Israel are long dead. They wouldn't know us from Adam. But you're our living Father, our Redeemer, famous from eternity!

Isaiah 63:16 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 63:16

Doubtless thou art our father
Therefore why shouldst thou restrain thy mercies and bowels of compassion from us? or therefore look down upon us, and behold us; the church pleads her relation to God, and in a strong manner; faith of interest continued with her, though he hid his face from her. This relation of father and children, which subsists between God and his people, is not upon the foot of creation, so he is a father to all men; nor on account of national adoption, so he was to the whole body of the Jewish people; but through special adopting grace, which is a sovereign act of his will, founded in divine predestination; is a blessing of the covenant of grace; comes to men through Christ, through relation to him, and redemption by him, and is made manifest in regeneration; and a loving tender hearted father he is to his children, who sympathizes with them, provides all things for them, food and raiment, and bestows them on them, and lays up for them, for time to come, even an inheritance rescued in heaven; and though there are sometimes doubts in the minds of the children of God about this relation, through the temptations of Satan, by reason of their sins and corruptions, and because of their afflictions; yet those doubts are wholly removed through the testimony of the spirit of adoption, witnessing to their spirits that they are the children of God, when they can in the strength of faith claim their interest, and call him their Father: though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not;
those, who were their ancestors, were both dead; and the dead know not any thing of their posterity, and of their case and circumstances in this world, temporal or spiritual; nor are capable of giving them any help or aid in time of distress; and perhaps the prophet, in the name of the church, purposely expresses himself in this language, knowing what confidence the Jews were apt to place in Abraham and Israel, to draw off their minds from them, and to lead them to look to God as their only Father; who only could help them in their time of affliction, and was infinitely more to them than any earthly father could possibly be. Some think the sense is, that they confess they were become so degenerate, that if Abraham and Jacob were to return from the dead, they would not know them to be their seed and offspring; and yet, notwithstanding this, God was their Father. This may be the language of some persons, who have comfortable views of their relation to God, when earthly parents, and even professors of religion, disown and slight them: thou, O Lord; art our father;
which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and to express their full assurance of faith in it the more strongly: our Redeemer; thy name is from everlasting;
or, "our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name" F5; more agreeably to the accents: Christ was appointed from everlasting to be the Redeemer of his people; God was so early in him, drawing the scheme of redemption and salvation, and made so early a covenant with him concerning it; which may be properly enough called the covenant of redemption, though not as distinct from the covenant of grace; and Christ was the Redeemer of his people in all ages, and lived as such, as well as God the Father was, of old, in all ages, the protector of his people, and the avenger of their wrongs, to whom they might at all times apply for help.


F5 (Kmv Mlwem wnlag) "redemptor noster a seculo nomen tuum", V. L. "[vel] est", Vitringa; "assertor noster a seculo est nomen tuum", Cocceius.

Isaiah 63:16 In-Context

14 Like a herd of cattle led to pasture, the Spirit of God gave them rest." That's how you led your people! That's how you became so famous!
15 Look down from heaven, look at us! Look out the window of your holy and magnificent house! Whatever happened to your passion, your famous mighty acts, Your heartfelt pity, your compassion? Why are you holding back?
16 You are our Father. Abraham and Israel are long dead. They wouldn't know us from Adam. But you're our living Father, our Redeemer, famous from eternity!
17 Why, God, did you make us wander from your ways? Why did you make us cold and stubborn so that we no longer worshiped you in awe? Turn back for the sake of your servants. You own us! We belong to you!
18 For a while your holy people had it good, but now our enemies have wrecked your holy place.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.