S (Scripture): Isaiah 43:1 But now, says the Lord—
the one who created you, Jacob,
the one who formed you, Israel:
Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
you are honored, and I love you.
5 Don’t fear, I am with you.
From the east I’ll bring your children;
from the west I’ll gather you.
6 I’ll say to the north, “Give them back!”
and to the south, “Don’t detain them.”
Bring my sons from far away,
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name
and whom I created for my glory,
whom I have formed and made.
19 Look! I’m doing a new thing;
now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert,
paths in the wilderness.
20 The beasts of the field,
the jackals and ostriches, will honor me,
because I have put water in the desert
and streams in the wilderness
to give water to my people,
my chosen ones,
21 this people whom I formed for myself,
who will recount my praise.
O (Observation): God’s people – scattered, tattered, and torn – are given words of hope through the prophet Isaiah. Faith is not just a set of beliefs or doctrines, but a living reality in which God reigns.
God sees the people of Israel as a parent looks upon one’s precious children. Even though they have been conquered and scattered over the generations, God is preparing to call them back, to redeem them, to restore them…from the ends of the earth.
This new thing God is doing is a hoped-for future. A future in which animals even give praise to God for the waters God provides in the wilderness / desert. A future in which all creation will give praise to God.
A (Application): So what does this future look like? Perhaps we’ve see a glimpse! A foretaste of the feast to come…in the person of Jesus Christ!
Jesus calls us to a way of hope, even in the midst of dire circumstances. Jesus calls us to live peacably with all, even to love our enemies. Jesus grants us direct access to God, even though we stray.
Jesus was never about getting even. He was about change through love. When we live out love in response to hate, we see lasting change. If not in this week or month…at some point others will see the witness we give of responding to hate with love. And this witness is the new thing that God is doing. Streams of water in the desert; God calling together many strains of humanity to care for one another.
Let us live out this faith. More than doctrine. More than just some set of beliefs. But a way of life led by love for God and for neighbor.
P (Prayer): Lord, I hope for peace through the witness of love for you and for neighbor. Amen.