Luke 3:1-20; Ezekiel 40-41; Isaiah 62
Hope. The lack of hope brings sickness and death. Hope brings life. Hope restores our spirit and our soul. Israel, in the time of the exile, did not have hope. It fell to Isaiah to provide that Hope from God. It was to a people broken, bowed down and battered that Isaiah spoke these words of hope. ““Indeed the Lord has proclaimed To the end of the world: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.”’ And they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.” (Isaiah 62:11-12) The Babylonians did not call the Israelites anything good. They were refuse; they were scum; they were rejected by their weak god who had been overpowered. Jerusalem was a forgotten city, sitting in it’s own rubble. Yet the message Isaiah gave to the broken people of Israel was that they would no longer bear the shame and disgrace of their defeat; no, they would be called a Holy people. They would be seen as people redeemed by God! Salvation is coming from God and those who would jeer at the people of Israel would recognize that God’s hand was in their redemption. Though feeling forsaken by God at the time Isaiah spoke, they would experience God’s redemption and favor. Their homeland would be exalted also. Jerusalem would no longer be forsaken, but a city that showed forth God’s love and power. That promise is still available to all who are broken and battered spiritually and physically. There are people today who wander without hope. There are those today who have given up all hope. Our message to them, as followers of Jesus Christ, is that their salvation is at hand in Jesus Christ. There is hope for the future that we have because Jesus Christ died on the cross to bring reconciliation between God and man. No matter what people have gone through, there is hope in God.
Dear Lord, I know hopelessness. You came to me at my lowest point, when I had no hope and You brought salvation and redemption to me. Let me bring the message of Your hope and salvation to others through my words and through my deeds every day.