Ancient Isaiah Scroll, One of the Seven Dead Sea Scrolls

A daily devotion for February 21st

Word for the Discouraged

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Isaiah 49:15-16

Here Jehovah reminds Israel, Though you may feel neglected and forgotten, I cannot cast you off. I will never forget you, Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Proverbially, of course, a mother's love is the strongest love of all. Many mothers continue to love their children no matter what they do. But it is unfortunately true that mothers can forget their children. Mothers can forget their children, but God cannot: See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. We are reminded of that scene in the gospels when Jesus, after his resurrection, appeared to his frightened disciples, huddled together in the upper room, and said to them, Behold, my hands and my feet and see that it is I (Luke 24:39). Those wounds in his hands were marks of love and their very names were engraved in his hands.

Though this passage is addressed to Israel as a nation, we Christians have a right to claim these promises for ourselves. This entire section is a great word for discouraged hearts. Do you ever feel like God has forgotten you, that he has turned his back on you? Perhaps you have made mistakes and you think that God is going to punish you all the rest of your life. Many people feel that God has totally forgotten them.

I was speaking to a group of pastors and was encouraged to hear one of them say that he had learned that he was preaching to the wrong crowd of people. He thought he was preaching to the average family, a man and his wife, their two-and-a-half children, driving a nice car, living in a beautiful home on an acre of ground, etc. But he discovered that he was really speaking mostly to another group who live in high-rise apartments, drive a sports car, have been divorced, and their family consists of his, hers and their children. They are living empty lives, climbing the corporate ladder, feeling the rush and restlessness of life, troubled by many inner problems and distresses. But God has a ministry to the discouraged and defeated ones. He will restore and do a work that will leave them amazed and baffled at the wonders that he produces.

Thank you, Lord, that you love to reach the discouraged and defeated ones. Thank you that you reached out to me and that my name is engraved in your hands.

Life Application

Because we know that Jesus is God and that He took our sins in His own body on the cross, we can know He is Immanuel, God-with-us in deepest compassion and love. How do we respond to such infinite love?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Behold the Messiah

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