Links Daily Devotional

Belonging to God

“One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel.” (Isaiah 44:5, NIV)

What about you says golfer?

When I make my way out to junior tournaments—which is actually quite frequently in my capacity as a high school coach—I get a kick out of the way many of the youngest players dress. They wear clothes perfectly acceptable among their friends on the course, but move these kids after the round to the local Dairy Queen and a lot of heads would turn at the bright colors and repeated styles.

How close are to God? So close as to wrestle with him? Of course, clothes have often been the marker of golfers, and we have heard the ridicule of those who think our attire is quirky. Maybe it is. But other things, too, speak of our identity as golfers. In fact, one of those is speech—the words we use and the fervency of our chatter about the game.

To be fair to ourselves, though, people do this with all their beloved choices. They look and sound and act the part.

Which invites an important question for those of us who have made the “beloved choice” of Jesus: How obvious is our identification with him?

Among the prophecies of Isaiah were laments of the Lord about the behavior of his people. By “his people” here, we mean those he chose to dote upon—not those who had chosen to dote upon him. It is obvious from God’s laments that many had not done this. Rather, they turned to idols, paid little attention to the words of the Lord, and had become unrecognizable from the peoples around them.

But God’s choosing did not subside. He remained faithful to his people (because, we know, he cannot be unfaithful to himself – 2 Timothy 2:13).

The way God demonstrated this faithfulness was to do “a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19), to blot out the people’s transgressions and forget their sins (Isaiah 43:25). He promised to bring fresh water to dry ground and pour out his Spirit on the descendants of those who heard the words spoken through Isaiah.

The foreseen response to this is our passage for today. People who said yes to God identified with God, in visible and verbal ways. They identified also with Jacob, putting themselves in the line of those whose faith is credited as righteousness; and they identified with Israel (Jacob’s God-given name), willing to wrestle with God, not letting go until they are blessed.

How close are to God? So close as to wrestle with him? And how closely have you chosen to identify yourself with him? So closely that others say, “There’s no mistaking whose side you’re on”?

Jeff Hopper
August 24, 2016
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