Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Isaiah 41:14-20 (NRSV)
Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
you insect Israel!
I will help you, says the LORD;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff.
You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
Then you shall rejoice in the LORD;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the LORD will answer them,
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
so that all may see and know,
all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The first line of this reading is a little bit shocking. “Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect Israel!” These are not the kinds of words that we hope for when we go to scripture for a message of encouragement. But there is a point to these words and to the words that follow.
Israel was not faithful to God; neither are we. Israel had forsaken many of the commands of God and followed after other things, just as we have. Israel had a reason to be called out for their complete disregard of the things of God, things like justice, mercy, and love and so do we.
And yet, that is not the end of the message. God says God will provide the things that Israel needs, that the people need. Ultimately, the people were unable to provide the things about which they have boasted and hoarded. God is the source of all. So, when the source of water was cut off, God promised to provide. When food became scarce, God would feed them. When the land was barren, God would grow forests. God would be known as the source of all things throughout all the lands.
Even though people have forgotten God, even though people have neglected God, even though, through Isaiah, God called the people a worm and an insect, God still provide for them as God will provide for us. That is a message of hope.
God, be with us when we mistakenly think we are the source of good gifts. Forgive us when we boast and hoard. Remind us that you are God, and continue to give us our daily bread. Amen.
Go with God.