Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth-- 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." 8 Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! 9 Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, "It is true."
In the 6th Century BC the people of God were conquered by the Babylonians and carried off into exile. The Prophet Isaiah had told them that their sinful acts of oppression and greed had caused them to lose God’s protection (Isaiah 1:15). Now he adds reassurance to his earlier words of judgement: despite being exiled from their homes and temple, God has not been left behind in their homeland: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you”. God has instructed Isaiah to tell his people that they are still “precious in my sight”. Here is the core truth: even if we wander far away from Godly paths, God does not leave us. Even when we abandon God, our Creator does not abandon us!
First Sunday in Advent
1. The Lord is Coming
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 14.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.