Friday, April 1

Friday, April 1

Reader: “I, yes I, am the Lord,”

Response: “and there is no other Savior.”

Scripture: Isaiah 43:8-15  

Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind,

    who have ears but are deaf.

Gather the nations together!

    Assemble the peoples of the world!

Which of their idols has ever foretold such things?

    Which can predict what will happen tomorrow?

Where are the witnesses of such predictions?

    Who can verify that they spoke the truth?

“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the Lord.

    “You are my servant.

You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,

    and understand that I alone am God.

There is no other God—

    there never has been, and there never will be.

I, yes I, am the Lord,

    and there is no other Savior.

First I predicted your rescue,

    then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world.

No foreign god has ever done this.

    You are witnesses that I am the only God,”

    says the Lord.

“From eternity to eternity I am God.

    No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.

    No one can undo what I have done.”

The Lord’s Promise of Victory

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“For your sakes I will send an army against Babylon,

    forcing the Babylonians to flee in those ships they are so proud of.

I am the Lord, your Holy One,

    Israel’s Creator and King.

Some thoughts:

Today’s passage is the following text to yesterday’s reading. As a consequence of their rebellion against God, the Israelites are living as slaves and servants in exile serving the Babylonians. It seems Israel was always fascinated with the gods of the peoples around them. Like the Israelites, people who are “off the rails” inevitably have huge blindspots. We’ve all met or have been around someone who just couldn’t “get something through their head.” They are deaf to the words being spoken to them. They can’t hear what you are saying. The mind can’t let go of what they perceive to be in order to recognize there may be another way to look at things. And we say they are “blind to the truth.” Like Isaiah, we live in such a world. Sometimes, we are that person!

So God challenges his people with four rhetorical questions which are intended to help them get out of the spiritual maze they are in. The questions are amazingly contemporary. Like the rebellious Israelites, people have many gods in our world: science is a god; physical fitness is a god; money is a god; physical appearance is a god; sports and recreation are gods; and clearly, politics is a god. We even have modern day prophets who claim God has told them what is going to happen in the future. When it doesn’t happen, they and their followers fade into oblivion.The point being, the gods of this world are not God.

The LORD reminds his wayward children that he has chosen them so that they might  know him, believe in him, and understand that he is the only God there is. For example, the gods of this world pull hard at the Christian family. I’m saddened at how easy it is for young families to skip church for a Sunday soccer tournament, or a weekend camping trip, or a Sunday boating or day at the beach, or to simply sleep in. Such a perspective reflects a very weak and unbiblical ecclesiology (theology and understanding of the Church). What’s more, such a response to corporate worship teaches our children that gathering as the corporate body of Christ is insignificant. (Heb. 10:25) As the day of the Lord draws nearer it is more important than ever for God’s people to get together. In times of crisis, everyone needs community as so clearly evidenced in times of war.

Finally, there is the most comforting and beautiful promise tucked in near the end of today’s pericope. “From eternity to eternity I am God.  No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done. This is what the LORD says―your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” None of this world’s gods can provide the care and security of our God. Rest in him today.

Music: “Children of the Heavenly Father”   arr. Clausen       Concordia Choir

             “Children of the Heavenly Father”   arr. Wilberg Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Prayer:O Thou Good Omnipotent, who so carest for every one of us, as if Thou cared for him alone; and so for all, as if all were but one! Blessed is the man who loveth Thee, and his friend in Thee, and his enemy for Thee. For he only loses none dear to him, to whom all are dear in Him who cannot be lost. And who is that but our God, the God that made heaven and earth, and filleth them, even by filling them creating them. And Thy law is truth, and truth is Thyself. I behold how some things pass away that others may replace them, but Thou dost never depart, O God my Father supremely good. Beauty of all things beautiful. To Thee will I intrust whatsoever I have received from Thee, so shall I lose nothing. Thou madest me for Thyself, and my heart is restless until it repose in Thee―Amen.       ―St. Augustine, 354-430 A.D. from Prayers Ancient and Modern, p.52