“The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Have you ever uttered these words? I didn’t realize I was quoting Scripture when I did! It’s true that God does many amazing things every day. I just love it when I discover just one more truth as it is revealed in God’s word. It’s not that we haven’t heard some of these things before. We have. But when you read a passage you’ve read before and it speaks to you differently than it did the last time, that’s like an “a-ha moment!”
When we actually think about what God has done for us, and it dawns on us how he has been doing this for others for a long time, it’s just mind-boggling. How can we not want to boast in the Lord?
When God wants something done, he knows exactly what he is looking for in the one he will equip. We can look back through Biblical history and find common, everyday people whom God chose for some focused purpose. Did they ever feel prepared? Probably not! Were they stronger with God? Absolutely!
In today’s reading, God’s chosen one is Cyrus, King of Persia. God knew well in advance who he would employ to bring his people back from exile in Babylon. Interesting to note, this is the only place in the Bible where a Gentile ruler is said to be “anointed.”
How does this passage start? With these words, “Pay attention O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel.” When God says, “pay attention,” that’s what I do. Even if the message isn’t directed at me, there is bound to be some juicy tidbit I can learn from or be inspired by. What comes next must be extremely important. God doesn’t want to be ignored. His message is to be heard.
Imagine if you were far from God. Life got in the way and you found yourself feeling alone and abandoned. Perhaps you were disillusioned because of what you were surrounded by. Perhaps you were enslaved to something, like work for instance. Does it seem like spending time with God is a distant memory?
When I read passages like this, I just want to scratch my head! I wonder to myself, “what are people thinking?” Then I remember not everyone has the same level of trust in God that I do. Sad as it is, it’s the truth. People are always looking for “things” outside themselves to help them feel good, feel complete.
We hear God say here, “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.” That seems straightforward to me. God was there at the beginning, and he will be there at the end. He is the only God to trust in during all the in between times. So why do we constantly look for help, comfort, instruction, safety, etc. in other places? God IS the real deal, and he’s all of those things!
What does abundance mean to you? Is it having more than you need or just enough? Where do you see abundance in your life?
In our reading today, God is assuring the people that he will provide for them. They will have what they need. “For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields.” If you’ve ever been extremely thirsty, like after running a race or when working in the hot sun, you know that sweet sensation that water passing your lips can bring. When your thirst is quenched, you’ve probably even exclaimed, “Ahhhhh!” Am I right?