Passage: Isaiah 49:8-13
8 Thus says the LORD: "In a time of favor I have answered you;
in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I will keep you and give you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages,
9 saying to the prisoners, 'Come out,'
to those who are in darkness, 'Appear.'
They shall feed along the ways;
on all bare heights shall be their pasture;
10 they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.
11 And I will make all my mountains a road,
and my highways shall be raised up.
12 Behold, these shall come from afar,
and behold, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene."
13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the LORD has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
Journal: Judah can look back to its previous bondage, and its centuries of slavery in Egypt. Judah has been given a glimpse of its future bondage, as Isaiah has foretold of the coming captivity in Babylon. Judah is also promised a deliverance from this bondage for a remnant of its people.
Our sinful state, our personal bondage, parallels the bondage of Judah. That is, we look back on our sin, for our sinful nature is inherited from Adam and each generation thereafter. We also look prospectively to our coming sin, for our redemption does not remove our sinful nature but instead provides forgiveness from it. Finally, we are promised deliverance from our bondage, as the new heaven and the new earth will reinstate our glorified relational existence with God.
The way, for now, is perilous. The evil one lurks in his temporary kingdom. Yet, our salvation is sure and our way is set out before us. We must not look to the right or to the left, for our God is before us and answers our calling in His "time of favor." [v. 8-9a -- "Thus says the LORD: 'In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, 'Come out,' to those who are in darkness, 'Appear' . . ."]
This covenant ensures that we have light while "in darkness," that we are fed even in times that are "bare," that we shall not "thirst," that we shall not succumb to "scorching wind or sun," that no "mountain" shall impede our progress, and that the valleys "shall be raised up." This is our "day of salvation," and we have no reason to not rejoice in it. [v. 13 -- "Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted."] Thus says the LORD.