The scripture verse for today is preceded by a reminder that God can make a way where there is no way. ‘Was it not You ... who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over?’ (Isaiah 51:10). Perhaps some of us can look back to difficult times in our lives and remember how God stepped in and brought us through.
Isaiah writes about times past when all seemed dark and hopeless. God promises to save His people, not just on a rescue mission, but to stay with them and lead them on to a place of celebration, when joy would be their crown and sorrow and mourning would be no more.
‘The redeemed of the Lord shall return’. The word of the Lord is dependable. He is trustworthy. It will happen (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
But who are the Redeemed of the Lord, and what are they redeemed from?
To redeem something is to ‘buy back’ or recover by a stipulated payment. The redeemed of the Lord are those who have been ‘bought’ from the bondage of sin and its eternal consequences and brought back into relationship with God. In some versions of scripture this is referred to as ‘the ransomed of the Lord.’ Either way, the price has been paid and the captives redeemed. The payment is the blood of Christ.
As we accept and receive personally the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and recognise the price that was paid we are ‘rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’ (Colossians 1:13-14).
Everlasting joy rests on the heads of the redeemed. I believe true joy can’t be experienced outside Jesus Christ, because joy is of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It’s an inner experience of the presence of Jesus welling up in our hearts, filling us up and bubbling over. Jesus referred to this as ‘rivers of living water flowing from the innermost being’ (John 7:38).
Why then don’t we feel joyful all the time? Because we allow our cares and concerns to cast a shadow over our lives and blot out the truth. But we can rise above our problems by the shield of faith ‘with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one’ (Ephesians 6:18). Along with the helmet of salvation we can now put on the crown of everlasting joy and our identity in the Lord is complete.
‘Sorrow and mourning shall flee away.’ How can sorrow and joy exist together? It’s not possible. Where there is joy, sorrow fades like a mist, as the sun breaks through and spreads its light all around.
So, let us, the redeemed of the Lord, recognise who we are in Christ and rise up and take hold of that which is rightfully ours, ‘and come with singing unto Zion.’
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes I’m not sure where I’m heading, and it’s as if I’m walking around in a fog. My concerns blot out my confidence and makes me confused. Please forgive me. Your promises are clear and engraved on the palms of Your hands. As Your precious child, I’m assured of my redemption and know that everlasting joy will be my destiny. Help me to live in this now, as I recognise I live no longer in bondage, but in freedom. Amen.
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