Summary: Isaiah called the Israelites back to Israel from Babylon, and God calls us to heaven on a dangerous journey in Jesus.

3.21.2021 Isaiah 43:1–7 (EHV)

1 But now this is what the LORD says, the LORD who created you, O Jacob, the LORD who formed you, O Israel. Do not be afraid, because I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine. 2 When you cross through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross the rivers, they will not sweep you away. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, and the flame will not set you on fire. 3 Because I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior, I gave Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious and honored in my eyes, and I myself love you, I will give people in exchange for you, and peoples in exchange for your life. 5 Do not be afraid, because I am with you. From the east I will bring your offspring, and from the west I will gather you. 6 I will say to the north, “Give them back!” and to the south, “Do not hold them.” Bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, everyone I created for my glory, everyone I formed, yes, everyone I have made.

The Trip to the Promised Land is Worth the Risk

This summer I am trying to plan a trip out to Maine with my family. There’s a place on top of a mountain called Knife’s Edge. It’s about a mile and a half trek on the rocky edge of a mountain, for a total of a 8 and ½ mile hike that can take anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. When we saw the video online it looked awesome to me, but my wife said, “Uh uh. I’m not doing that.”

One of the most memorable trips I have ever taken was years ago when we were invited to India for a wedding. We had a member from our church who was getting married in India, and my brother lived over there as well, so we jumped at the chance. It was very exciting, but it was also very scary. We were able to travel over there with another member of our church who also was from India. He knew where he was going and how to get from one place to the next. It definitely made the trip easier and more relaxing to have him with us as we went.

Such is the nature of life. You can’t stay at home forever. You have to go to school. You have to find a new job. You purchase a house. You get married. You have children. Sometimes you can’t WAIT to move on. You’re sick of school or you’re sick of living at home or you’re sick of your job. You move on at the first chance you get. Other times you are AFRAID of the change. You are enjoying life and you don’t want anything to change. Perhaps someone that has been with you through life is gone: your parents or your spouse die. You hoped to have many more years with them, but now you have no choice but to adapt to the change.

Problems occur when people are terrified of change or they try desperately to hang on when change is inevitable. They remain locked in where they are and they can’t move on. Then they get depressed. Feel like they’re stuck. I think about how many pictures we have taken of the kids through the years, but we never take time to actually look at them. We are too busy to stop and look back. But I don’t think that’s all bad. I’d rather have life go quickly than to be stuck and constantly looking back, wishing for what used to be.

Another problem can occur if all you ever want to do is move on. You don’t learn to live in the present. You get people that constantly quit jobs or end relationships because they’re constantly seeking the latest and the greatest. They’re never satisfied with anything.

God wasn’t satisfied with what happened to our world when Adam and Eve entered us into sin. He put a curse of death on this world. He wasn’t satisfied with seeing us living in darkness, only living for the here and the now. He wanted something better for us. He wanted perfection and holiness. He wanted heaven for us. So Jesus went on a journey, a dangerous journey, into the flesh of humanity, into the desert to fight against Satan, into Jerusalem to die on a cross. He came here to experience our death and our hell, to break open the gates that barred us from heaven. This is what Lent is about. God comes to man, God becomes man, God becomes sin and death, in order to give us forgiveness and life. We enjoy the journey every year as we follow Jesus to the cross. God entered our fallen world in order to save us.

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