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Focus

Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.


Read

Isaiah 49:1-7 (NRSV)

Listen to me, O coastlands,
pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The LORD called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the LORD,
and my reward with my God.”

And now the LORD says,
who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honored in the sight of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength—
he says,
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Thus says the LORD,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
the slave of rulers,
“Kings shall see and stand up,
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”


Reflect

There are many times when I identify with the prophet, such as when he moans, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity.” Like him, I feel the weariness that comes when living turns into existing, and change seems exclusively to point the way to dying. What a miserable existence, to spend your strength striving for nothing; all is vanity.

Yet the prophet clings to his hope in the Lord amidst this sea of existential nihilism. Like the prophet, I have the same raft to grab onto. My Lord has a purpose for me. I may not see it clearly yet; it may require faith and stubborn optimism to keep moving toward it, but my hope, anchored on the promise that my Lord has a purpose for me, is the only thing that keeps this life from being nothing but vanity.


Pray

Lord of all creation, become my strength today—and all the rest of my days. Protect me from world-weariness, and keep me in your purpose. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Let it be so.

Go with God.

David Dean

David Dean

David Dean is a deacon in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Marshall (Texas) where he also teaches a junior high Sunday school class when not on duty as the Battalion Chief for the Marshall Fire Department. He also serves as the Chief of the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department. David plays bass guitar for his church's contemporary worship service and serves as the nurse for Trinity Presbytery youth camps. In his spare time, David enjoys riding motorcycles.
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