Daily Devotion 08 September 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Isaiah 14: 1-2 ‘The Restoration of Judah’

1 But the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land; and aliens will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2 And the nations will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess the nations as male and female slaves in the Lord’s land; they will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.

I looked at this sign with some alarm. It was on the first, very tall tree, of the Go Ape course at Bedgebury. On a family day out before school and work resume, we had decided to treat ourselves to this treetop adventure. You are easily 40-45 feet in the air, and there’s a zip slide 170 metres long. A head for heights is a must, as is an unbelievable level of trust in those who made and attached all the rope swings, rope ladders, and walkways high in the air. Throughout each heart-stopping climb, leap, or wobble, you have to attach your safety ropes and carabiners to make sure that if you fall, slip, or lose your footing, you always – always – stay attached. The ropes guide you along the way, and they keep you from falling. The warning signs provide a soothing and comforting image as you go around!

Isaiah’s prophetic writings cover a huge period in the life of the Israelite people. In Isaiah 14 the prophet begins to write about the end of the Babylonian kingdom, which will mean the end of the exile for the Hebrews. Though sometimes using language which might make us feel uncomfortable today, Israel’s fortunes are to be reversed and restoration is to take place. Remarkably, Isaiah says even outsiders “will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob”. Rather like those carabiners, hooks and wires, there is a sense for the Israelite people of a strong attachment to Yahweh, to God. This is often described as ‘Covenant’ – a bond between God the Creator, and the people whom God continually seeks to live as faithful, loving, worshipping people.

You and I have endured a six-month period unlike that any of us will ever have endured. God’s love for us never wavers, always holds fast, and God’s attachment to us will never be broken. Our attachment to God may – simply because we are human – be under pressure when we face trauma, stress, anxiety, or loss. Few, if any, experience faith with no hiccups or moments of difficulty. But even in such times, even if we waver or wobble, God is always there, ready and waiting for us, and with a love for us that will ever reach breaking point.

Prayer:

We pray, Almighty God, for your people across the world.
In times of doubt, may we receive assurance of your perpetual love.
In times of worry, may we learn to bring all our concerns to you in our prayers.
In times when we feel we may fall, help us to reach out to you, even in desperation.
For you are God, you are our God, and we are your people. Today, tomorrow, and forever.
Help us to be a people whose lives unfold always with you beside us. AMEN.

Reflection, Image and Prayer © 2020 Paul Tabraham.
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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356