Return, Repent and Rejoice
Rev. Vinoy Daniel
St. Thomas MTC, Pattoor, Trivandrum
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (44:22)
In the second part of prophecy in the book of Isaiah, the prophet faces a serious question, how could people believe in a God who lost the latest war? And the people of God are in the Babylonian exile. They have a serious doubt about the deliverance from the exile. They are in severe hopelessness. But God has His own plan. In Chapter 44: 21 – 28 God asked his people:
1. To remember.
V.21 begins with a reminder to remember and ends with an assurance that I will not forget you. God asked His people to recall past events in their history especially the deliverance from Egypt. God reiterates that 'you' are in my memory. You are remembered because you are my Servant. Here servant is not a slave but the one who was formed and created by God. God gives one more assurance to His people that He has swept away all their sins and offenses. It gives hope to us that God remembers us but forgets our sins and transgressions. The first step to liberation and salvation is to remember what God has done for us.
2. To return.
There is no more hiding away from God like Adam and Eve. Now people can come close to God. God’s invitation to His creation is to return. In the first chapter of the Book of Isaiah itself God invites the erring people to come and have a talk with him. The word “come” is not simply an invitation but it is an act of Grace. God’s first painful question to Adam is “where are you”? It echoes through ages. It is the inner urge of God to have fellowship with His people. Now in this passage also God invites His people to return and repent. God is going to deliver His people. God’s invitation to His people is for their redemption.
3. To rejoice.
Since redemption process began, God asked His people to rejoice. Nature is also called to join in praise. In the first chapter of Isaiah, God summoned the nature to hear His lamentation about His People. In the same way while God is redeeming His people, He also asked the nature to join in that celebration. The reason for celebration is God reclaimed, redeemed and restored His people.
4. To receive the redeemer.And finally God unfolded his plan of deliverance before his people. Cyrus the pagan king is God's own anointed one. Why Cyrus? God has reason for His election. God’s answer is clear that, "I am the creator; I have freely chosen Cyrus as my agent. He will build My city and set My exiles free." God works in an amazing and mysterious way.
PRAYERLord, help us to see Your providential care in all our ways. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.” - William Cowper.