Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/12/2023: Isaiah 49:1-7

Today please be in prayer for

Barnard UMC
Hunter: Grace Chapel UMC
Salina District
Huscher UMC
Salina District
Ionia UMC
Jewell Trinity UMC
Mankato Harmony UMC
Salina District
Beverly UMC
Lincoln, KS UMC
Salina District

Today's Lectionary Text

Isaiah 49:1-7

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.”

Today's Devotional

Do you remember the three R’s – reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic? This coming Sunday we will be thinking about another three R’s – relationship, reconciliation and restoration. God may or may not have been concerned about how well we learned the former three. God deeply desires that we learn the latter three, and that we practice them in our daily living.  

As the people of God, our focus is on relationship. God wishes for God’s people to be in relationship with God and with each other. To nurture that relationship with God we might pray each day, at a set time or throughout the day. Being silent and listening for a word from God grows our relationship. Looking into the eyes of the grocery checker or the client at the food pantry offers an opportunity to know God in new ways. 

As our relationship with God grows and deepens we are led to start or strengthen relationships with others. Perhaps there are those with whom our relationship is broken, personally or globally. To what actions are we called in order to promote and encourage healing in those broken relationships? Is not getting to know another also a kind of reconciliation?  

Reconciliation in relationships leads to restoration. What is it that needs to be restored? Is it the kin-dom of God, that community where each has what he or she needs in order to live? In a restored way of life each reaches out to the other, focusing on the other. Each shares God’s wondrous love with the other, because no one is better than another. This is God’s deep desire. Returning to this condition is so important to God that God called prophets like Isaiah to beckon the tribes of Jacob back to this kind of existence. God also charged Isaiah with extending the light that comes from relationship with God to all the nations. That call extends to us today. 

It sounds like hard, unpopular work. It might be challenging. That is a possibility. Learning to read and write was likely easier. However, God will walk with us as we attempt to do this important 3-R work, trying to be in relationship and to live reconciled lives in a restored world. It is important. Let’s try to do it. 

-- Rev. Dianne Tombaugh, retired elder


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