Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
When we distract ourselves from God's priorities and look at the condition of our world, it's easy to fall into discouragement. 2020 has, in some ways, become a verb, and it indicates doom and gloom. Apparently, 2021 has done the same, though it seems to be more like 2020 version 2.0. Recent news has spoken of political intrigue, sharp division among political and cultural factions, and recently a major shipping channel blocked by an accident which has partially paralyzed supply lines for much of the world. What kind of hope do we have?
I might quickly add that nothing has actually changed. The trials we face are different in their specifics, but they are not new. In the time of Isaiah the world was suffering from warfare, political intrigue, diseases, invasions, and all the like. There were no huge ships blocking canals and nobody was carrying goods all around the world, but there were certainly plenty of supply line problems. Trials, disappointments, and dangers are nothing new.
Isaiah gives us some good news, though, and it is still good news for us today, no matter our position in society, in the geography of the world, or our need. In Isaiah 62:11-12 the prophet has a message to "the daughter of Zion" - to everyone who believes God is their savior and reward.
Your salvation comes.
His reward is with him.
He has people, and they are not forsaken.
You who believe in him are his people.
What confidence can we take from this? He may seem slow in coming at times. In fact, it might seem like a promise that we may never realize.
Christians confess that in Jesus, the Lord has come, with salvation. It is by his grace that we are saved. We who believe that He is the Lord can take courage. God's people are not abandoned.
How does this help us?
Even in a time of plague, even in a time of division, even in times of suffering and warfare, even when we are uncertain how our needs will be met, Jesus has shown himself to be the one who can even conquer death.
Nothing will stand before this King who is coming to rescue his people. Nothing at all. He brings his reward. It is not our reward, it is his. Even though we might be too troubled to do anything, even if we are weak, even if we are at the point of death, Jesus promises that he is our life and salvation.
With a savior like that, do we really have anything to fear?
Christians are sometimes accused of being "so heavenly minded they are no earthly good." Yet even amidst those accusations, it is Christians who have been at the forefront of moves for justice, for equality, for charity, for showing mercy. Jesus' reward for his people is delivered thrdough his people.
In this there is great hope. There's purpose. There's all the confidence in the world, because God has called all who believe on him "redeemed," "sought out," and "not forsaken." Our prayer is that we will see that realized, to some extent in this life, and in spades on the last day!
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