A Great Big God!
Living Lord, I don’t want to remain content with the things of the “here and now.” Today, lift my mind to things eternal.
Read Isaiah 51:1-8
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Christ can turn our weaknesses into strength by his help; our struggles may become victorious by his grace; our problems may be solved by his wisdom” (Peter Marshall).
How do we know what God is like? In part, we know by looking back at his great acts, and seeing that he is the same God today as he was then. This must have been particularly important for people reading this second part of Isaiah while languishing in exile and longing for God to act again in power to bring them back to their homeland. They are to look back in order to look forward, to see the kind of God who brought the nation to birth in the first place in order to give them hope for a new birth as a people.
What does looking back tell us? It tells us that God takes a lone man and turns him into a great nation, and takes a barren woman and makes her the mother of many. This is a God who makes the desert bloom, who makes desolate places become like a well-watered garden. In view of God’s power, even the most lasting of thingsﾗthe heavens and the earthﾗseem passing and ephemeral. In view of God’s plans to save his people, even the most daunting of enemies will pass away and be forgotten.
The pattern in the Old Testament is the pattern we find in Jesus. This is a God who takes the rejection by his people of the anointed one, the Messiah, and turns it into the ultimate act of redemption. He takes the final point of failure by his people and out of it gives his people a new power of obedience. Even as they fail to recognize his hand at work, he fulfills all his ancient promisesﾗnot only to his people themselves, but to all the nations of the world, as his grace overflows to them in ways they could not have imagined.
Consider some of the challenges and trials you’ve faced recently. How do they look from God’s perspective? How do they look alongside God’s wider plans for you?
Gracious God, it is such an encouragement to know You are a turn-around God. You have the last word in all things. You can turn defeat into victory.
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