Daily Update #235

Isa 49:8-15; Ps 145:8-18; John 5:17-30

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, Isa49:8

There’s an old East German joke about a man arranging a plumber. The plumber can come on a Thursday in six months time. Morning or evening says the man. It’s six months away, says the Plumber, what difference does it make? I have an electrician coming in the morning, says the man.

I wonder if you have a good memory, but I wonder how far ‘ahead’ it goes. We can normally remember significant events, especially if they were particularly emotional. But can we remember things in the long haul? As the days blur a bit, I need to remember what lies ahead. Would I remember a plumber coming on Thursday in six months time?

Isaiah today reflects on memory. The Nation of Israel is in exile and will return to Jerusalem. We have studied some parts of that in our series in Nehemiah, which I hope you found helpful. We know that God’s covenant with Israel is not going to be fulfilled in the way the nation expected. In 49:7 the Servant, (Holy One) are depicted separately from Israel, who are now called Zion. The promises remain real but the circumstances are going to be different. God’s memory is perfect, he does not forget his promise and in 49:8, we learn this promise is an individual given as a covenant to the people. He is the promise that God made and God’s redemption will be effected through him.

We know this is Jesus. But do we remember all God’s promises are fulfilled in him? Zion is in a bad way. It is desolate and there are none among the people who can claim their inheritance..’ Though we don’t see it for some while later in the Bible, (John 18:36 for example), God’s focus is for the people to inherit the spiritual ‘land’ of the Kingdom and the ‘inheritance’ of Spirit. In spite of this remarkable turnaround verses 9-11, and the impact it has upon the people around them, verse 12, which brings joyous celebration, v13; by verse 14, the people have returned to their own desolation, declaring that God had forgotten them.

So in the middle of their mess, they forget. They forgot they were loved and cared for by a god who would never abandon them, but would one day abandon himself for them. They let the things around them swamp them and hide from them the glory that lay ahead. Do we forget the covenant that God  made with us in Jesus Christ?

Can we focus on Jesus in such a way that whatever today brings to us will not shake us? How many of Jesus’ promises can we remember? What is coming at me today that Jesus’ promises can help?

Let’s pray
Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessed are you, Lord our God. How sweet are your words to the taste, sweeter than honey to the mouth. How precious are your commands for our life, more than the finest gold in our hands. How marvellous is your will for the world, Unending is your love for the nations. Our voices shall sing of your promises and our lips declare your praise. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Blessed be God for ever. Amen.

Tomorrow’s readings are: Exod 32:7-14, Ps 106:19-23,John 5:31-47
After Easter we will continue daily reflections througha couple of Bible books as it is easier to see the thread of God’s work.