June 30

Lift Up Your Eyes, Pt. 2

Isaiah 49:14-18 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you…Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live, declares the LORD, you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.

In Isaiah 40’s comfort to an exiled people, God answers Israel’s complaint, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God.” (v. 27b). He reminds His people that He is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, the One who doesn’t grow tired or weary, and renews the strength of those who hope in Him.

The second scripture of this series on lifting up our eyes to the Lord is found in Isaiah 49 (above), where the tone has changed, and is more personal. The Lord faces a similar charge as in the earlier chapter: “But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

Yet instead of calling attention to His everlasting nature and power, He calls attention to His tender heart: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (vv. 15-16)

If you read the rest of Isaiah 49, you will see God go far beyond comforting Israel. He even promises more than restoration, granting Israel a future status undreamed of and not prayed for. While fully answering the prayers of the weary and downtrodden, God goes beyond answering prayer to accomplishing His eternal plan, which of course looked forward to the first and second coming of Christ.

There are two things to consider here. One is that in answering our prayers, God, the Great Multi-tasker, is simultaneously working out a plan of far greater and eternal scope that happens to fold in all our concerns and supplications. If we lift up our eyes, we will see answers that go so far beyond specific answers to our specific prayers as to be almost unrecognizable in their greatness.

While this shows His awesome power as Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Lord doesn’t point to this aspect of Himself in making these promises. He points to a Father’s heart that would never forget His children. Is there anything more touching and beautiful than a mother nursing her child? Is there any bonding so natural and tender? Yet the Lord says that even if such a mother could forget her child, He would never forget His people.

Yes, as Creator and Sustainer, He has the power to do what He wants. But as our loving Father, He has the heart to comfort us and hear our prayers because He loves us and would never forget us or forsake us. So He not only can minister to us, He wants to.

Prayer: Father, a love as You describe in Isaiah 49 is almost impossible to comprehend. But I lift up my eyes to see You and ask that You open my eyes and heart to receive and begin to understand Your tender Fatherly heart. Thank You that You have great power, but that you operate out of love.

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