Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 36

The Servant Brings Salvation

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 48:1-22, Isaiah 49:1-26, Colossians 1:13-14, Hebrews 4:12

Text: Isaiah 48:1-22, Isaiah 49:1-26, Colossians 1:13-14, Hebrews 4:12

Recently, I have felt a loneliness and isolation that I’ve never quite known before. It’s not that I’m alone. I’m not. As a matter of fact, I’m often surrounded by people. And yet, in a way that can only be described as wandering in a desert, I do feel alone. Have you ever felt that way? Like you were wandering aimlessly, directionless, wondering if you would make it back home?

I imagine that’s how the Jews felt in the Babylonian exile: defeated, alone, fearful, maybe even abandoned. Their faith was lacking (see Isaiah 48:1), but the truth was they were not alone. As Isaiah prophesied, God desired to get their attention.

“Listen to this, house of Jacob—those who are called by the name Israel…” (v.1).
“Listen to Me, Jacob, and Israel, the one called by Me…” (v.12).
“All of you, assemble and listen!” (v.14).
“Approach Me and listen to this…” (v.16).
“This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says…” (v.17).

These aren’t merely hopeful suggestions from God. He was commanding their attention—not just to rebuke them, but to comfort them in their exile. Sometimes God uses these moments of loneliness and isolation to eliminate distraction so we might turn to Him.

Isn’t this like our God? We fail to listen, we lack faith, but He continually pursues us. God reminds those who feel fearful, defeated, and alone that He is the faithful one—He is a covenant-keeping God. All of His promises are “yes” in Christ, and ultimately found in the gospel (2 Corinthians 1:20).

So, what does this mean for us?

In our despair, the Lord reminds us that He has not forgotten us. Even if a mother may forget her nursing child, the Lord will never forget us—He will restore (Isaiah 49:15,18). He comes to meet us in our despair. And just as Jesus healed and comforted those He saw in distress, He has compassion on us today. Christ is the ultimate servant, bringing salvation to all who turn to Him.

And so we lift up our tired hands and strengthen our weakened knees, for we know the truth (Hebrews 12:12): God is near. He comforts us by the presence of His Spirit and in the promises of His Word.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.
- Hebrews 4:12

This is good news! May this knowledge lead us all to sing for joy, for our God “has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him” (Isaiah 49:13; Colossians 1:13-14). There is no greater comfort than this.

No matter how alone we may feel, the truth is that is God is near and is never callous toward our pain. His desire is to comfort, encourage, and heal our hearts. Today and every day, He offers us the perfect, unending peace that can only be found in Him.

SRT-LENT2017-Instagram36s

Trillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good GiftsFear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves, and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern. Together, they reside with their two children near Nashville, Tennessee. You can find her find her on Twitter at @trillianewbell. 

  • Wow! I’m behind on the study but today was exactly what I needed – God is near!

  • Oh how much love is this… I am amazed of his wonders and how he lift us up in time that there aren’t any other solutions but death and sorrow and dispare but he just remind us of his eternal and everlasting love towards us… I feel so loved and not worthy of his grAce that makes me always be at my knees thanking him… love u Sisters thank u for this amazing time <3

  • Oh this is just what I needed. God is bringing me to a place of healing, and one of my lies is I am forgotten and therefore I must protect myself. It is a lie and not true, but I am finding it hard to release to God.

    What a great reminder that we aren’t forgotten, people may forget, but he will not forget.

    Thanks SRT ❤️

  • I read this and I thought of my friend who had an abortion almost a year ago. She’s been struggling terribly. She’s also not a believer, as far as I can tell. I want all these things for her… God’s redemption, peace, hope, faithfulness, joy… please pray for her, that she can find the Lord and the healing he offers. Please pray also for me, that I listen to the ways God wants me to love her and support her. She is a gem, an absolute dynamite person and I hate to watch her feel like she no longer shines.

    • Ashley

      I know the pain of watching dear, unbelieving friends struggle through hard times without the comfort of our Father. I’m praying for you both tonight!

    • Claire

      Praying for peace, healing and wholeness for your friend x

    • Kersti

      Oh what a hard place to be. I cannot imagine the pain she is going through. She is lucky to have you.

      I pray God grants you the words and the knowledge when to say them and when to be silent & her the pull to look to Jesus to save her & heal her heart.

  • This was exactly what I needed today, thank you! I have loved going through this study!

  • Rebecca Bates

    Beautiful Scripture and reminder that God continually and constantly calls for us, even when and especially when we fall short of the glory of God. I feel so Blessed even in such a trying time of my life, and that is a true gift.

  • “The wilderness is also part of the Promised Land. In your life you will have wilderness, times of hardships, losses, challenges, tears, as well as times of waiting, or of simply not being in the place you want to be. Remember then this truth: In God, even the wilderness can be part of the Promised Land. In other words, the wilderness is not outside the purposes of God, nor outside His promises. It’s the place God brought you to. And God will use it to accomplish His purposes and to fulfill the calling and promise of your life.” (Day 292, The Book of Mysteries, Jonathan Cahn) Because I belong to Him, even in the wilderness I am in the Promised Land!

  • God is near, always. I am so thankful that this devotion reminded and His presence meet me where I am with the words I needed to hear and be reminded.

  • As a student in professional school, I often do feel lonely and isolated, consumed with my studies. I’m thankful that God uses these times to call me nearer to him, even when I put Him second to school sometimes. Praise Him for never forgetting me. I certainly could not face the pressures and challenges of school without His faithfulness.

  • God is meeting me exactly where I am today through this study. It is amazing. I felt quite lonely today and I am reassured and feel peace and rest after spending time here.

  • Micah lee

    God has felt distant lately and this is getting me through the day

  • This message was wonderfully comforting to me today. There are many times that I feel forgotten or alone and I love that God has given me His word so that I may know that he will never forget me. I am so grateful for this reminder today. The reading through Isaiah was one that I was certainly daunted by and worried it would feel much too heavy to press on but while there are messages of justice and destruction, there are so many messages of hope sprinkled throughout it all that lift my spirit and have me singing praises. Thank you for helping me to read through this book so beautifully and thoughtfully.

    • Emily B.

      I feel the same way about reading Isaiah! I’m sorry you’ve felt the pain of loneliness, but I’m glad you’ve seen how God is still faithful, no matter what our circumstances.

  • Diane Huntsman

    No matter how alone we may feel, the truth is that is God is near and is never callous toward our pain. His desire is to comfort, encourage, and heal our hearts. Today and every day, He offers us the perfect, unending peace that can only be found in Him.
    Yes to every word.. a balm for my lonely heart today.

  • Alexis Maycock

    It always comes as a surprise to me that God CHOOSES to pursue us…daily. I know this truth but it still catches me off guard. In all my selflishness, God still loves and pursues me? But then I am reminded that He sees His son in us…he sees himself in us…we were created in His image. He sees our potential. He saw the children of Israel and their potential. They were never really alone and abandoned and we are never alone and abandoned, despite how our situations may look or feel…we are His.

  • amyloukuo

    I’ve been using Matthew Henry’s commentary (it’s now an app too!) alongside my reading to give more context and meaning, and this morning found many truly beautiful prophecies about the Church in Isaiah 49. To paraphrase from Matthew Henry:
    Through the Servant of the Lord, Israel will be renewed into a family of Nations. The Church will gather from afar (spiritually) and be an ornament as the bride of Christ (v. 17-18). The barren, desolate land will be overpopulated (v. 19). Children (the new Church) will be brought up from the stones – not natural children brought up by the mother Israel, but joyfully received into the family nonetheless (v. 21). The Spirit of the Lord will beckon to the Gentiles through the banner of His Gospel and bring out not only believers among them, but also their aid to the cause of the Church (v. 22). Children of this Church will be rulers or aided by rulers (Esther, Constantine), and if not, those opposing rulers will bow before the Church (Rev. 3:9) and its Head, Christ (Ps. 72:11).

    Beautiful words about the Church, through Christ, that we see being fulfilled in history after the writing of Isaiah, and through to today!

  • It’s so interesting to me how pervasive loneliness is and always has been, and yet how solely specific to us it always feels in our quiet moments, even though we know, somewhere deep inside the haze we feel, that we aren’t the only sufferers. I don’t know that anyone is exempt from this hollow, though I imagine everyone copes and hides and suppresses it differently. For me, I find myself in this place a lot, always a little disoriented and confused how I got here. It reminds me of the C.S Lewis quote that describes how our deepest yearnings not being satisfied means that we were simply made for another world. How true this is – our entire being screams out toward God, in shouts and pain and even in the incompleteness of our earthly joy (*something* always is missing even in this place). Never is there a moment where I do not need to reach out desperately to our Heavenly Father and our only true solution for our peace, Christ Jesus. We are such cyclical creatures, which used to really frustrate me (how did I forget Him AGAIN?), but the benefit of this if we are to keep forgetting is that we are freshly surprised as though it is the first time we are discovering the supreme gift of His glorious presence, each time we do return. Feeling encouraged today, that not only is or Lord with us every moment (when we fall asleep, awaken in the middle of the night, work, arise – who is here for us like this? Who is like You, God?), but that He brings us the gift of togetherness, even by way of an online community, stretching across boundaries far and wide to let us all know we aren’t alone in this truly special and unique way as well. In this way and thousands of others, He whispers to our hearts and wraps us in His love, quieting the questions in our minds and the sadness that we feel with the awareness that though we may not yet know all that we want to know, we can be sure that He will never give us over to the deep.

  • Yes Lord. I love how he brings us down to nothing so we realize who is in charge –> him! Thank you Lord for your faithfulness and gentleness <3

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Keri McCue

    I am learning how much I depend on everything else for comfort rather than God. When I’m sad or upset I go straight to my husband. When I need to vent or need a day of friendship, I call my sister. When I need advice, help, etc., I go to other people and not to His Word first. He is constantly reminding me and teaching me to seek Him FIRST. When I need advice, comfort, friendship, I can go to Him. Most of the time when I DO go to Him first, I learn that I don’t need to go to anyone else after that. He is enough :)

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

    • Virginia

      Sometimes I forget that’s me attitude. Thanks for reminder Keri. In good times and bad times we children of God should run to Papa-the God of heaven and earth.

    • Emily B.

      Wow. I do the same thing, and then I wonder why I still feel unsatisfied. Thank you for reminding me to turn to God first and foremost because He fulfills every role and need.

  • Since I have the paper back Lenten Study book, I have developed the habit of writing on the side of the pages as I read & what the Holy Spirit is bringing to my attention…so as I then return to the beginning, this morning I see: LISTEN, OBSERVE, ACKNOWLEDGE, APPROACH GOD & LISTEN, ASSEMBLE & LISTEN!!! God is literally shouting to His people ( and to me & you) and once again, I’m overcome with awe at how He longs to communicate with us…wants our attention so He can guide & direct us….
    Now revealing “something new, like never had been seen before!!! Of. course…Jesus is coming!!! Coming not only to Israel but to ALL PEOPLES!!! Accomplishing for us what we cannot do for ourselves!!! The Compassionate One…JESUS jumping off the pages like I’ve never noticed before!!! Thank You Lord for new spiritual eyes & ears this morning…thank You for new awareness and assurance of Your constant & faithful companionship…I love you Lord!
    And thank you SRT and all my wonderful sisters In Christ as we share burdens and bits of wisdom
    The Spirit imparts…praying for Willow!!! Amen!

  • I love how the Lord uses the details to continuously remind me how incredible he is, in every moment and every instance. I wrote about this just last night, I had a day of feeling “alone in a crowded room”, just as Trillia wrote about. In every season He’s faithful, and uses each moment to draw us closer to him. I never take a moment to comment, but i thought that today would be a good day to mention, i know i’m not alone, and it helps to see and hear how we all go through very similar yet different things in our every day’s. It’s so incredible how the Lord uses moments, in His timing, for His purpose to continue to write our story. This devo truly spoke directly to me, in His perfect timing. :) He never leaves or forsakes us, and he cares about every single detail. I love that about Him. Trillia, thank you for sharing, and ladies thanks for listening!

  • Praying for all my SRT sisters today that are feeling lonely and invisible and for those who have loved ones with medical emergencies. God is with you every step of the way and I pray for peace and healing to all of you!

  • I know I’m just one of many moms who pray for an adult child to return to their heavenly Father. This morning I was encouraged by this devotional because I was reminded again that God is near and he fighting for me and for my kids. Isaiah 49:25 lept off the page for me where it says: I (God) will contend with the one who contends with you, and I will save your children. Todays writer shared “God reminds those who feel fearful, defeated and alone that He is the faithful One – He is a covenenant – keeping God. All of his promises are “yes” in Christ.”
    I’m so blessed to be a part of the SRT community. For all of you who are praying for a prodigal, here’s a link to a song by Housefires entitled Yes and Amen.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1dr268AwH8

    • She Reads Truth

      Susie – praying for your child today. Thank you for sharing. We are blessed by you and grateful to have you in this community.

      – Stormye

    • Claire

      Susie, my brother is 37 and has now been clean for around 1200 days…what a journey his life has been and that of my family…never doubt the prayers of parents for their children.

  • I woke up this morning to see that once again I will not be seeing a positive pregnancy test this month. 12 months now and every time I tell myself it is Gods will, His timing. But sometimes, like this morning I wonder if he’s mad at me? If I’m not strong enough? If He thinks I’m no good or undeserving? And I feel alone.
    Thank you for this reminder that God if near and he does not wish to cause me pain. His will is best and I accept his perfect peace today and everyday.

    • Cassie Kendall

      It took me about a year to get pregnant with my first. I remember feeling just like you are saying. I now have a 4 year old and a one year old! Praying for you in your season of waiting, I know it can be hard.

    • Yomi

      NC,
      I have that exact feeling. I had a miscarriage two months ago (Feb. 3) and let me tell you that there is not one day I do not think of my child. I also feel alone and there are times that I question why this happened to me? but I know God has a timing for everything and he is always with me. Let’s keep praying so that one Day we have a child to hold, love, and guide forever.

    • Emily B.

      Your words are inspiring, even in this hard situation. Thank you for sharing your heart!

    • Kristal

      It took us a year and a half to get pregnant with our first baby. It was devastating each and every month. I had the hsg procedure done and 2 months later I got pregnant! I also started working out a month or 2 before I got pregnancy too. The month we conceived, I told myself I am not even going to “try” this month. We went away for a weekend to the beach and a couple weeks later we found out we were FINALLY pregnant!! I tell u all this to let u know ur not alone and maybe my experiences can help u out. ❤

      • NC

        Thank you all so much for the kind words above and the encouraging attitudes! I truly appreciate it all!

    • Meghan

      Sweet girl, I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I too have had a long struggle with infertility. After about 4 1/2 years God blessed us with our beautiful daughter who is now 5, through IVF. And despite our prayers and many, many interventions, she is our only as of now. I know how vicious the cycle of hope and then devastation is when you are waiting for something to happen in your body that you have absolutely no control over. I will pray for you and your husband during this difficult time. Looking back on my own struggle one thing I wish I had done was to talk to about it more with people God put around me who wanted to encourage and support me because as I did that it helped me so much. You are not alone. God is with you and He is waiting to comfort you and there are so many others who are going through the same struggle. Give yourself extra grace during this time because it is so hard and let the people around you pray for and love you. Hugs.

  • Just wanted to take a moment and share my gratitude for this community. Thank you and love you all!

  • I have felt the despair of isolation and pain. The pit that crumbles in on itself without hope. And God has met me there, in the stillness and quiet. He heard my disbelief, my inability to believe-and yet he did not leave me. In the silence and stillness he came and renewed my spirit. His Spirit released me from the shackles of disbelief and the blindness of despair. He is not far off. And he is mighty in power. And he is full of compassion. His mercies never end.

    • Kimberly Martinson

      ❤️

    • Anne

      Your testimony encourages me to keep believing that God will release me from my shackles of disbelief and blindness of despair. Desperate, dismal circumstances have left me feeling isolated and forgotten like never before. It’s scary to feel my faith dwindle. Thank you for sharing hope.

  • @trillianewbell Thank you for being so transparent and vulnerable. I’ve experienced those seasons too in my own way and as you’ve said here it has always removed distractions enabling me to seek and listen. Sometimes my expectations of God set me up for disappointment in the actual experience of God– which, once I remove all predisposition and expectation, is far more glorious in and of itself. Thanks be to God in Christ our Lord that he moves toward us in love and gently reminds us of this every time!! He is so patient.

  • I needed to read this devotion today. Even surrounded by people being lonely can be heartbreaking. Good reminder that God is here and wants to comfort us.

  • Churchmouse

    For many years I was invisible. I was my husband’s wife and my children’s mother but somehow somewhere I had lost me. It was a very busy time and I loved those roles but it was also a lonely time. How I clung to the verses that began with one simple word: “Listen.”. For then I would be reminded that God saw me and was speaking to me. In the invisibility I had forgotten to just listen. In the midst of the busyness He was still speaking. I had to slow down, stop and listen. He had wonderful words of affirmation, hope and yes, correction. As in Isaiah, listening led back to joy – joy in the Lord. As I open my Bible each morning, I pray I will listen – intently and sincerely. My Savior, the One Who sees and knows, speaks. He still and always speaks.

    • Patti

      Churchmouse – as I read your words…….. wow. I’m in the “invisible” stage. In fact, I’ve been feeling “invisible” since childhood – so that is my struggle. My children are older now but I’m still struggling to find ME. Thank you for your words. Listen. Yes, I will do that.

    • Megan C

      Wow, as a wife and mother to an almost 5 year old, 2 1/2 year old, and 15 weeks pregnant, this is EXACTLY where I am in life right now. Thank you!

  • Tochi Heredia

    Wow, Trillia. It’s as if you had me in mind when you were writing this (actually, that’s how I feel every time I read the Bible).

    My extended family is in great despair, as my dear Aunt is in the ICU after having a stroke and loosing the ability to speak.
    It’s heartbreaking.
    And on top of that, her son has decided to unleash his anger on us, he refuses to speak to my mother. His beloved aunt.
    On Friday, I succumbed to the frustration and my sin burst out of me in front of everyone. Instead of being strong and a peacemaker, I made things worse.
    Needless to say, the guilt was heavy. I had panic attacks the following day, but then I read Isaiah 43-47 and my heart melted. The stone became flesh. I accepted my inadequacy, my need for forgiveness and God’s perfect grace covering it all.
    Today, I can trust in His sure redemption, He’s making all things new.

  • Sometimes God uses these moments of loneliness and isolation to eliminate distraction so we might turn to Him. Lord I pray for comfort through the presence of your spirit. Grateful for your relentless pursuit.

  • Pray for my sweet son Evan. Yesterday he burst an ear drum and is in so much pain. Pray for comfort and healing for him and peace for me. We have to fly tomorrow and I am so nervous for him. And I am so nervous about his recovery. I know the Lord is watching over him and will protect him. ” Comfort, Comfort my people says the Lord. ” “There is no God but me.”

    • Kristi

      Praying for Evan.

    • Churchmouse

      Praying for Evan and for you as you mama him during this difficulty. Praying for healing and an uneventful flight. May you feel the Lord’s presence in so powerful a way that you are completely at peace.

    • Crystal

      Oh Kristen, I’m so sorry. That happened to a friends son recently. Do you have rice and two cotton socks? Fill one sock with rice and tie a knot, then place that inside the other sock. Microwave for a minute or so. It makes the best ‘heating pad’ for their ears…and I would imagine the flight attendants would be able to microwave it for you on the flight. Prayers my sister.

    • Missy

      Praying for Evan

    • Leigh

      Praying

    • Lana

      Just sent up a prayer!

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for sweet Evan. Asking the Lord to heal quickly and to bring comfort.

      – Stormye

    • Kristin

      Thank you all! Your prayers are all felt!

  • Thank you so much for this ever so God timely message…
    My friends granddaughter aged 2 is having an operation today, actually as I write, she will be being prepped to go to theatre, for a brain op…. can you imagine the unrest of the heart for her parents…. her grandparents? The sleepless night they have probably had for the worry..?… the concerns?… the fears?
    This read is so perfect for me because your words half echo my words to them, the family this morning… Peace of heart…, God is near to all who call on Him…,He is faithful to His promises, to trust in His promises, that He will not forsake or leave…that He supplies the needs of all who honour Him…Psalm 145…

    Feeling hope filled that the words, I wrote were from God to my dear friend and her family…

    Thank you Lord God, for the gift of Willow to her family, that you have not be far from them in the days leading up to today, that you do not forsake nor leave us in our troubles worries or woes… thank you that you are near always, wherever we are at… thank you that you go before us, ahead of our worries and concerns, to see them through to a ‘Your will be done’ end.. thank you Lord God that you hear our cries, that your love is eternal. Heavenly Father, praying your wisdom over the surgeons and their hands Lord, asking in the Mighty name of Jesus, you guide, direct and lead as they operate, be there with them Lord in the theatre. And for the family waiting on the outside, I pray your peace that so so passes ALL understanding be with them… Lord God, in the lifegiving, and saving name of Jesus I pray… Amen.

    Might I solicit prayers dear hearts for this precious family….the little person is called Willow…x

    Thank you.

    Every blessing being prayed over and for you all dear hearts…love, Tina..xxx

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