S (Scripture): Isaiah 48
The Lord your redeemer,
the holy one of Israel, proclaims:
I am the Lord your God
who teaches you for your own good,
who leads you in the way you should go.
If you would pay attention to my commands,
your well-being would be like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Your offspring would be like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains.
Their name would never be eliminated,
never wiped out from before me.
Go out from Babylon;
flee from the Chaldeans!
Report this with a loud shout, proclaim it;
broadcast it out to the end of the earth.
Say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
They weren’t thirsty when he led them through the deserts.
God made water flow from the rock for them;
split the rock, and water flowed out.
There is no well-being, says the Lord, for the wicked.
O (Observation): God’s ways promise blessing. Over time, this came to mean one must be obedient to receive blessing. Perhaps this means less about being obedient and more about the joy of receiving God’s direction.
The grace comes first: God provides a path. What flows from that grace is our well-being: righteousness, descendants in the faith, God always remembering God’s people.
Even in the midst of despair, with foreign groups essentially running the country, God reminds all of God’s people that hope still abounds.
A (Application): The pit of despair. We have all been there. As I laid a brother in Christ to rest yesterday, I am reminded of the pain and despair that families can feel when they lose (in this case) a husband, a father, a friend.
In death, we feel a hole in the soul that can never be filled in the same way again.
And yet, our struggle is to discern God’s voice in the midst of the pain struggle.
I thought God would never forget us? I thought God would provide water in the dessert?
Well, as we moved through our funeral service we were reminded that nothing – not even death – can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We were reminded that our communities that surround us (family, siblings in Christ, friends) are still with us and provide comfort like water in the dessert.
God remembers us. God provides a path forward, even in the most dire of circumstances.
P (Prayer): Guide me, ever, great Redeemer. Amen.