By Sally Lombardo
“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the foreigners’ palace is a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall… It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” (Isaiah 25:1-4, 9).
Enhance today’s devotional by reading Isaiah 25
A friend’s husband has recently had a cancer diagnosis. Our small group rallied around her, praying for her, promising to bring meals and share what we could to bring hope when everyone was tempted to despair. Everyone has tried to encourage and bring happy thoughts and memories to our friend, but all we can really do is promise we will be faithful to her in her time of greatest need.
The Bible tells us God is faithful to us, yet people die, and illness takes children and causes suffering and pain. To believe God is faithful, we have to look to what he has provided for us in the past and believe it will be there in our time of need. In this passage from Isaiah, the prophet recites what God is and what he plans to do about it: “You are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name.” He reminds himself of how God is a refuge, a shelter, a tree of shade. Sometimes we need to remember and then praise God for his provision.
My friend is trying to remember God has been there in times of joy and sadness in her life. He has guided her in times of prayer and comforted her in sorrow. Now God is tangibly showing up in the faithfulness of her friends who are calling and taking care of her family’s needs. Isaiah instructed the Hebrews to praise God after a time of war and overcoming the assault of many nations. We are to praise Him, too, in anticipation that He will help us overcome.
Reflection: Can you find a way to praise God in disappointment? When in despair, we can thank God for his provision including faithful friends. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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