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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Monday, January 7, 2019

“The Heavens Torn Apart”

Isa. 43:1-7

This is one of the most comforting passages in all of scripture.  The immediate context is the return of the people of Israel to their land after seventy years of captivity in Babylon.  Yet the promises stated here go beyond any one context.

This is God’s pledge to his people past, present and future.  The greatest commandment in the Bible is repeated several times: Do not fear.”  That is God’s word to Abraham.  We have just come through the Christmas season where that command is repeated several times (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:12, 30; 2:10).  In the gospel story we are now preparing for Jesus’ baptism which will inaugurate his earthly ministry.

Yet the overarching theme as we look at any of the gospel accounts is that Christ has come to bring us to God.  In Christ we know that God is for us and not against us (Rom. 8:31).  We have no promise that life in Christ will not encounter challenges, opposition and problems.  We see these forces at work throughout Jesus’ ministry.

In the course of our lives we will pass through waters and rivers that will threaten to overwhelm us.  There are times when we are in effect walking through fire.  We are not to fear the waters or the fire.  God’s promises are basic. He is with us.  He will bring us through all the obstacles to the place he has designed for us.

We are not promised to be free from suffering.  Indeed God reminds us that his strength is made perfect in weakness (II Cor. 12:9).  We can struggle but we have the assurance that we will never be destroyed.  Death and the Devil have both been disarmed (Heb. 2:14-15).

As Christians we should be the most hopeful and optimistic people on earth.  As the theologian Cornel West once put it, we know that history will have a happy ending.  There is no reason to fear.

Eternal and loving God I praise and thank you for all your promises.  Take away my fears and ground me in your will.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen