Hunkered Down Devotion

Isaiah 49:13-16 (Voice)
13 Oh joy! Be glad - sky! Take joy - earth! Burst into song - mountains!  For the Eternal, moved to compassion, has comforted and consoled His people.  
14 Zion: The Eternal One has abandoned me. God has walked out the door;  
my Lord left me alone. He has forgotten all about me.  
15 Eternal One: Is it possible for a mother, however disappointed, however hurt, to forget her nursing child?  
 Can she feel nothing for the baby she carried and birthed?  Even if she could, I, God, will never forget you.  16 Look here. I have made you a part of Me, written you on the palms of My hands.   Your city walls are always on My mind, always My concern.

This exchange between Zion (which is a name often used to represent Jerusalem or the people of Israel) and God that occurs in the forty-ninth chapter of Isaiah may seem like one that doesn’t have much relevance for us in of 21st Century lives.  But I think, on the contrary, the opposite is true.

The people of Jerusalem and of Israel are – and stop me if this sounds familiar – feeling lost, worn down and exhausted.  They feel like the world is changing and shifting around them and they are not sure that those changes are for the better.  They are feeling isolated and excluded, vulnerable and at unsure of what lies ahead for them.

Worst of all, due to the current circumstances in their country – they were not all able to worship in the way they wanted or the way the were used to.  So even their faith, which they used as a foundation to support them, felt unsteady, less secure.  Some of them, perhaps were so lost they were at the point where they believed that God had actually abandoned them.  As verse 14 says, ‘God has walked out the door…. He has forgotten all about me’.  

Take not of how God responds to this.  Does he take offense?  Does he get angry and say something to the effect of ‘how dare you, mere mortal, question me?’  No!  Instead, God immediately launches into an explanation of the depth and breadth of his love, care, and concern for us.  

The Hebrew word for love that is used here has not direct translation into English.  But the word is related to the word for a woman’s womb.  So the connotation is that the love God has for us is akin to the carrying-in-the-womb-love, and the giving birth kind of love that is so deep and that forms a bond that we all recognize as unbreakable.  

God ends his response with these words of comfort for his people in Jerusalem, in Israel and for all of us: Look here. I have made you a part of Me, written you on the palms of My hands.   Your city walls are always on My mind, always My concern.  Make no mistake.  You and I, all of us, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, are now and will always be God’s.  We will always be God’s concern.  

Sharing God’s Love

Prayer: Lord, thanks for writing our names on the palms of your hands and making us your concern.  Amen.

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