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?
That’s what the first audience was facing. They had been taken away to Babylon. They were surrounded by pagans who followed and worshipped their own pagan gods (idols). God needed to do something to get their attention. He wasn’t about to throw a tantrum like a toddler in the checkout aisle!
God reminds them who he is and what he has done yet again. God had used and manipulated the powerful leaders he needed to bring Israel to this moment. And then God says this. “Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” We can see another truth in that statement, can’t we? Is God speaking to your heart? That price he paid for you and me is the blood of his own son, Jesus.
What should our response be to that? We should simply pause in this moment and let the truth and magnitude of that one line sink in deep. When you’re ready, you can “Shout for joy, O depths of the earth!” This is important stuff. We should definitely “pay attention” to the message here for us today.
God can make things happen. When we are feeling a bit overwhelmed with what we face on a daily basis, it’s easy to feel lost. Some of us are better at being “out of control” than others. I, for one, am a bit of a control freak and look for ways to make sure I participate in planning things I’m involved with. I’m doing so much better lately at just being present and letting others take the lead. It’s actually quite nice to be led. Remember, it’s God who can truly make things happen!
God can use us, too. Look what he did with Cyrus! “When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’” We see that God is not done using powerful leaders to make things happen for his people. We’ll learn more about Cyrus in the next reading for sure. (I peeked.)
Take some time today and reflect on how you are being led by God amidst the chaos of life. Listen for his voice if you are unclear.
Let’s pray … Lord, I do want to listen up and pay attention to what you have to say to me. Help me to be still so that I can hear your voice. Thank you for how you are working in my life. Continue to open the doors you want me to walk through. Help me not be disappointed with those that close. You are God, and I am not. You know what is best for me. Thank you for the price you paid. In Jesus’ name. Amen.