Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Wednesday, December 2
By Dr. Jeffrey H. Johnson
He Will Be With You
Read Isaiah 43:1-3a
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (NLT)
I grew up in the church. I have listened to sermons in church and on the radio, and now on the internet for years. I love hearing the exegesis of God’s Word. Despite having listened to so much material, there are still specific messages I have heard that made such an impression on me that they have become part of me. I remember listening to a message about John the Baptist. We remember the great and lofty things he did in preparation for the Son of God and His ministry. However, we forget that he (John the Baptist) was thrown in prison and eventually beheaded. In Luke 7, two of John’s disciples went to Jesus and asked him if he really was the Son of God? They and John were having their doubts, given the events that were happening to John. Notice that Jesus did NOT drop what he was doing, rush to John, and have him rescued from prison and solve all of his problems. Instead, he instructed John’s disciples to tell John that the people were being served and the Gospel was being proclaimed.
In these difficult days of 2020, are we to abandon our faith in the midst of pandemic, racial tension, and strife in our country? I believe that we are called on to remember that when we go through rivers of difficulty (not if, but when), we will not drown. When we walk through the fire of oppression, we will not be burned up; the flames will not consume us. For He is the Lord, “the Holy One of Israel, our Savior.” Verse 5 of Isaiah 43 says, “I am with you.”
He was with John the Baptist, even in prison. And He is with us today …
Father, we understand that your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts. You are God. You are King. You are the Sovereign One. You bridged the gap between God and Man through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of your Son. Thank you for being with us today. Amen.
This devotion was written in honor of the Parish Health Ministry.