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There are many times in life when our labor seems to be in vain. We can’t see the value of our work. We can feel discouraged and hopeless. In these times, like Israel, we find peace and hope when we entrust our efforts to God. Rather than focusing on what has gone wrong, we present ourselves and our work to God as worship.
When we walk in God’s ways, God’s work is done through us, not just in our “religious activities,” but in all we do. God is honored and glorified through our obedience and through the fruit of our labors. But when God teaches us, and when we follow his instruction, we benefit as well.
Suffering has a way of refocusing our minds and hearts. When we’re in pain, be it physical, emotional, or relational, we stop caring about little things that don’t matter. Our hearts yearn for what is truly important: the love of family and friends, the assurance that life has meaning, justice for all people, and, the transformational peace of God.
The bulk of Isaiah 47 consists of God’s taunting condemnation of Babylon. But verse 4 is an interjection by the prophet, speaking on behalf of Israel: “Our Redeemer—the LORD Almighty is his name—is the Holy One of Israel.”
God has been gracious to me again and again, delivering me from the messes I make, giving me hope when I feel hopeless, and working away at helping me to become more like Christ. For God’s amazing, tenacious grace, I am most grateful. Yet I am eager for more of God’s grace in my life. I yearn for revival.
Throughout the Bible, God’s people are called to remembrance. We are to bring to mind God’s wondrous works in the past so that our faith might be renewed in the present… For Christians, the focal point of our remembrance is the cross, by which God delivered us from slavery to sin and death.
We worship the triune God through bowing before him, offering our whole lives to him in humble worship. This worship happens not just in church, but in the world, as we serve the Lord each day, at work and at home, in our jobs and our hobbies, among our neighbors and our friends.
In the context of Isaiah, God is the potter and Israel is the clay. God is molding Israel according to his plans and purposes. What was once true of Israel is also true of us. God is the potter and we are his clay. He is in the process of shaping us, so that we might be everything he has created us to be.
Through Isaiah, the Lord made known his plans to use Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple. Of course, this meant that the Israelites would be subject to Cyrus… not exactly the kind of restoration they would have wanted. Surely it was tempting for them to question God’s plans, to doubt his wisdom or goodness. Yet the Lord points out the folly of such arguments.
Jesus invites us into the house and household of God, the family of God. We can accept this invitation now, even as we await a greater fullness of family life in the future. You and I have the opportunity to be brothers and sisters in the family of God, beloved children of our heavenly Father. In this sense, we can be at home with the Lord today.
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