“Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people…” (13).
Read Isaiah 49:8–26
8 This is what the Lord says:
“In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’
“They will feed beside the roads
and find pasture on every barren hill.
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst,
nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.
He who has compassion on them will guide them
and lead them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
and my highways will be raised up.
12 See, they will come from afar—
some from the north, some from the west,
some from the region of Aswan.”
13 Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
17 Your children hasten back,
and those who laid you waste depart from you.
18 Lift up your eyes and look around;
all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live,” declares the Lord,
“you will wear them all as ornaments;
you will put them on, like a bride.
19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate
and your land laid waste,
now you will be too small for your people,
and those who devoured you will be far away.
20 The children born during your bereavement
will yet say in your hearing,
‘This place is too small for us;
give us more space to live in.’
21 Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who bore me these?
I was bereaved and barren;
I was exiled and rejected.
Who brought these up?
I was left all alone,
but these—where have they come from?’”
22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I will beckon to the nations,
I will lift up my banner to the peoples;
they will bring your sons in their arms
and carry your daughters on their hips.
23 Kings will be your foster fathers,
and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground;
they will lick the dust at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
24 Can plunder be taken from warriors,
or captives be rescued from the fierce?
25 But this is what the Lord says:
“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,
and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
and your children I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.
Then all mankind will know
that I, the Lord, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
How has God comforted you?
What an amazing transformation! God’s people, formerly captives living in darkness, are brought safely home! They thought they were forsaken and forgotten (14), but God’s commitment to his precious children is more certain than a nursing mother’s love for her child
(15–17). With great compassion he is now bringing them comfort (13; 40:1). From all directions God’s people are rushing back to the land (17,18). There will be
lots of people (19–21), lots of help from the influential (22,23) and great honor in place of humiliation (24–26).
Jesus died not only for the Jewish nation but “also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one” (John 11:52). He plans for the whole human race to know that he is powerful to save and redeem his people (26).
Do you feel “bereaved and barren… exiled and rejected” (21)? Lift up your eyes, and see what God is doing! Hurry home! Find your place in the international community of the redeemed!
“Now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Let us press in to all the good things which are ours in Christ.
My Father, I thank You that You have not forgotten me, You have engraved me on the palms of Your hands; I am Yours (15b,16a).
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