Mar. 13 – Wednesday                                                        Read Isaiah 43:1-13

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. 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. 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. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 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–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! 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.” You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the LORD. I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work and who can hinder it?


from Donald Snyder, First Christian Church, Beckley

            Most people would say that one time or another they have walked “through the valley of the shadow of death.”  The people of God stood at the pass leading to their own valley.  The Israelites pleaded for mercy, but God knew what His people really were. However, disobedience does not make them (or us) less precious to the Lord; that is grace!  Our knowledge of God is not merely an intellectual effort, but rather is based on our experience of God.  Just as the Lord had delivered Israel through the Exodus, so now, in the face of exile, God will gather scattered people from the four corners of the world and bring them home. This expectation of our future hope comes from a God whose arm is never too short to save.

Gather us in, O God, and bring us home

to the depths of your heart, to the fullness of your love.


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