Text: Isaiah 13:1-22, Isaiah 14:1-32, Psalm 48:9-14, Revelation 12:7-9
A few years ago, I fell for a film called Return to Me. It’s about a man whose wife had died in a tragic accident. In his anguish he agreed to donate her heart to someone else who needed it. Time goes by, and as fate would have it, he meets and (of course) falls in love with the woman who happened to receive his wife’s heart—returning to the one it was made to love. Cue the tears and pass the popcorn because this movie made me a blubbering mess.
Stories like this one captivate me—many of us, really—because our hearts long for an epic love story of our own. As it turns out, one has already been written. We only need to turn to the pages of God’s Word to hear the cadence of His own heart beating like a drum for His people, just as it always has. To Israel He said:
For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
- Isaiah 14:1
Throughout the book of Isaiah we hear God stating His love and compassion toward His people, saying, in essence—
I, Jehovah, have a heart bent with mercy toward you.
I, Jehovah, will choose you again and again.
I, Jehovah, will bring you back to a land of promise.
God has written a story with a plan and a purpose to draw His children back to Himself. Can anyone rewrite the story? Will prideful, land-hungry kings or the captivity of the people of promise change the merciful beat of His heart? No, never. For He has made this provision for them: “The Lord has founded Zion, and His afflicted people find refuge in her” (Isaiah 14:32).
But what was Zion to them?
The Lord made it holy by His habitation, His presence there among them. And so they called it the “City of God.” Though weak compared to invading armies, Zion was a place for the needy and afflicted to flee for protection because God was there. He was the place where they could find hope, their only true refuge and strength. He was their Promised Land.
We have much in common with Israel, those whom God chose and loved and longed to offer refuge in His presence. They were runners and rule breakers, sinners and cynics. So are we. Yet His heart beats for us, even now. It beckons to us.
We must return to Him—to the God who, by His compassion and grace, has given His people refuge for generations on end. We must return to the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, time and time again—to remember it and rehearse it our hearts. Only then will our hearts find rest from the invasions and distractions of this world.
May we return with great joy to the One our hearts were made for, and then keep coming back, day after day. For He is our One true God for ever and ever, even to the end. He will always lead us back to Him (Psalm 48:14).
Stacey Thacker is a wife and the mother of four girls. She is a writer and speaker with a passion to connect with women and encourage them in their walks with God. Her books include Hope for the Weary Mom, the Hope for the Weary Mom 40 Day Devotional, Fresh Out of Amazing, and Is Jesus Worth It?, releasing September 2017. You can find her blogging at staceythacker.com or hanging out on Instagram and Twitter @staceythacker, usually with a cup of coffee in her hand.