A Glorious Promise!
Wonderful, promise-keeping God, open my eyes again to the joyous promises in Your Word.
Read Isaiah 49:8-26
 This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances,  to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.  They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.  I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.  See, they will come from afar- some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan.”  Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.  But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”  “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.  Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.  Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.  “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away.  The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’  Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these-where have they come from?'”  This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.  Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”  Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce?  But this is what the LORD says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.  I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow would these words have brought hope to his people?
In their predicament in captivity in Babylon, God’s people are feeling neglected and abandoned by God, and have lost hope (14). This can be an all-too-common experience for many of us. With incredible grace (given that God has been pointing out the various ways they have abandoned him), God speaks words of comfort, of restoration, of compassion and of fruitfulness. God sets before his people a glorious promise of all that he is going to do. His commitment to them goes way beyond even that of a mother to her child (15). Contrary to what they think and feel, God is with them and is for them. Not only that, but they are also going to be caught up in the fulfillment of these promises–those who have been held captive will call others out to freedom (9). When God’s salvation comes, everything looks so different. The perspective that is marked by hopelessness and despair is challenged, and reassurance is given that things are going to change radically.
Do you need to hear words of hope today? Think of a time when the promise of something better kept you going through difficult times.
Lord God, sustain Your people who live in oppression and fear as You sustained Your people Israel in exile.
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