Archive for December 9th, 2018

Isaiah 48Exhortations to the Exiles

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Written on January 23 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

God’s patience, mercy and persistence are clear to us in this chapter of Isaiah.  It is unambiguous that our suffering brings spiritual growth and the refinement of our spiritual skills – I have refined you like silver, tested you in the furnace of affliction.  It is also obvious in today’s reading that God knows his creatures well – Because I know that you are stubborn and that your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead bronze, I foretold [things of the past] to you . . . before they took place . . . that you might not say, “My idol did them, my statue, my molten image commanded them”. 

God well understands how much we humans like to take credit for all that goes well, and how much we like to blame him for all that goes badly; yet God is always welcoming us home and here he asks: Now that you have heard, look at all this; must you not admit it?  The conquering armies of Babylon have themselves been conquered; now is an opportunity to escape slavery and return to Jerusalem: Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chaldea!  All those who have been patient and who have persisted in faith now reap the reward of returning from exile . . . if they can find the energy.  And so this God who loves us dearly anticipates our fatigue and he exhorts his loved ones to rise up and return to him.

Yesterday we reflected on the fact that God constantly accompanies us – even when we do not feel his presence.  Today we continue this thinking . . . God even abides with the exiles and urges them to come home to him.  God remains with us even when we turn to our little pagan ways.  God waits for us to remember that only God can restore what has been lost.  God loves us this much.

From now on I announce new things to you, hidden events of which you knew not.  How wonderful it would be if we might be open and eager for these new pronouncements.  How startled we might be to acknowledge that what God promises he always delivers.  And how joy-filled we would be if only we might believe the Good News we have heard . . . that our freedom has been gained for us, our sins have been absolved for us, and the way has been made straight for us.

Today’s MAGNIFICAT Morning Prayer offers perfect petitions as we move from exile to freedom to home, from stubbornness to repentance to restoration, and from disbelief to acknowledgement to joy.  Let us allow ourselves to be encouraged by God’s eager exhortations to us, the children he loves so very much.

We seek to grow in holiness and turn away from sin.  So we pray: Bring us to repentance.

When we have strayed from the path of righteousness: Bring us to repentance. 

When we are enthralled by what is not of God: Bring us to repentance. 

When we become blind to our sins: Bring us to repentance. 

Lord our God, you are loving and merciful to all those who turn to you in humility.  Draw us ever deeper in your embrace as we seek to please you through holy lives.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

A re-post from November 6, 2011.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 1.23 (2011). Print. 

Image from: http://www.modernparapsychology.com/Gamer/Moloch/Smelt.html

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