March 8, Monday Devotion
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war. 6 The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!” 7 The carver encourages the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.” Carefully they join the parts together, then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.
8 “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend, 9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing. 12 You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing. 13 For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. 14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the Lord, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.’ 15 You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains. 16 You will toss them into the air, and the wind will blow them all away; a whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in the Lord. You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. 18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground. 19 I will plant trees in the barren desert—cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine. 20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means—that it is the Lord who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.
For the next several chapters, we will see an exiled people. Envision yourself in the midst of constant struggle. Everywhere you look, the culture at large is trying to form you to be like them. Not that the culture is particularly bad, but it is not what God has called you to. Does that sound very different than your life today? Do you need God to hold you up as you you are getting bogged down?
Almighty God, Lord come and lift me from the bog. May my life be conformed to you and be beautiful. Amen.