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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, January 13, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Isaiah 43:1–7

But now thus says the Lord,
   he who created you, O Jacob,
   he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and through the rivers,
   they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
   Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my sight,
   and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
   nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
   I will bring your offspring from the east,
   and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
   and to the south, “Do not withhold;
   bring my sons from far away
   and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
   whom I created for my glory,
   whom I formed and made.” (NRSV)

Reflection
Isaiah is addressing the fearful people of Israel who were in exile and about to be delivered to the promised land. God reassures and comforts at every turn:

“I will be with you . . . for I am the Lord your God.” (verses 2–3)
“You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” (verse 4)
“Fear not, I am with you.” (verse 5)

These words, delivered with hope and open arms, gave reassurance to the Israelites to go forward, knowing that God was beside them at every step.

Today, as we continue to live into a new year with hope and, maybe, with uncertainty, these words are comforting. We are reminded that when we face trials God is right there with us. In fact, God is walking with us. God isn’t saying there will not be challenges but is reassuring us: “I am with you.”

This is a message I need to be reminded of today and every day: whether today is a day of celebration, of contemplation, of fatigue, or of challenges, God is walking with me, lifting me up, and waiting for me!

It is sometimes easy to forget this promise. It is easy to let fear overcome me. But God knows my name, and I am his. I take great comfort in God’s promise as I approach the days ahead.

Prayer
Dear Lord, thank you for being by my side at every turn. Open my ears to hear you, as you call me by my name. Open my eyes to see you, in the good moments and in the trials of life. Open my arms to feel your presence, giving me strength to face my fears. And help me to know each day what I can do and say in the ministry of your love; in Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Written by Marc Miller, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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