Isaiah’s Promise (18-09-21)
Bible Reading: Isaiah 43:1-5
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
It is hard when you see someone you love suffer and you can’t fix it, all you can do is be with them and encourage them, pray for them and support them in whatever way you can. It is also hard when you see someone you love struggle and you can do something about it, but you know you shouldn’t.
Bringing up children involves nurturing them and protecting them, it involves training them for life and teaching them to make wise choices and decisions. It is difficult then when those we love make wrong choices. There is then a fine balance between stepping in to bail them out and leaving them to learn from experience.
I think this was the case in God’s relationship with Israel. Israel had grown up as a nation with the benefit of God’s teaching and God’s blessings and yet they had chosen to go their own way. The result of this was the loss of their land and exile in a foreign country. God had warned them of the consequences of their actions through the prophets but now they are learning the hard way.
And yet God had not abandoned them. In their exile he reminds them that they are his, that he knows them by name, that he is with them, that the problems they face will not overwhelm them and that one day they will return as God brings their children back home.
Like a parent of a wayward child, God would do anything to bring his children home; Isaiah says he would give the surrounding nations as a ransom for them, but the choice to return must ultimately be with the people; he will not force them.
God did indeed pay the ransom for their return, and for ours. He paid your ransom, not by giving the surrounding nations, but by giving his one and only Son on your behalf. Why did he do that? As Isaiah says, because you are precious and honoured in his sight and because he loves you.
Why not read the bible passage again and insert your name? Allow God to speak to you directly.
Father of all, we give you thanks and praise,
that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home.
There is a redeemer