Sunday, February 6, 2011

Isaiah 41:8-13

8 "But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant';
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 "All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you."

The context behind this text is that the Israelites have been taken into captivity by the Assyrians, and because they are away from Jerusalem and the Temple, they believe that they are away from God. But God speaks to them through Isaiah and tells them that He is right there with them no matter where they are because He is their God and they are His chosen people.

The part that really hit me this morning as we were reading it, were verses 10 and 13. Verse 10 tells us that God upholds us with His righteous right hand. Verse 13 tells us that God will hold us up by our right hand. I imagined where God would have to stand in order to have my right hand in His right hand to hold me up, and I realised He would have to be standing behind me.

I immediately pictured the babies in my room at the daycare. There were two who had learned to walk while in our care, and to help them, we (the teachers) would hold their hands in our hands - hold them up - to support them as they learned to walk. It took work, of course, and they both were able to successfully learn to walk.

This is what I imagined when I thought of God holding us up by our right hand in His right hand - He is teaching us how to walk. As I saw from the babies learning to walk, it is a difficult, sometimes painful, task. They fell a lot. They hit their heads on stuff sometimes, mostly on the floor, but on the table and shelves too.

When I read this passage in Isaiah, I picture God trying to teach Israel how to walk in their spiritual journey. They've been torn away from the Temple, where they would offer sacrifices and worship the Lord God. They were unable to do that now, and now must learn a new way of spirituality. God is there with them, teaching them, guiding them, loving them.

God is also with me, personally, teaching me, guiding me, loving even me! He stands behind me, holding me up with my right hand in His righteous right hand, helping me to learn how to walk. I fall so often, and I get hurt, this is very true. But I'm comforted to know that just like I was right there (or at least Shelley was there) to comfort the babies when they fell, God is right there with me too, comforting me, holding me close, and helping me to try again. And again. And again.

Thanks God =)

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