Scripture

Isaiah 42:10-17

Song of Praise to the Lord

 

10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
    you islands, and all who live in them.
11 Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices;
    let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
    let them shout from the mountaintops.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord
    and proclaim his praise in the islands.
13 The Lord will march out like a champion,
    like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
    and will triumph over his enemies.

14 “For a long time I have kept silent,
    I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
    I cry out, I gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills
    and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands
    and dry up the pools.
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
    along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
    and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
    I will not forsake them.
17 But those who trust in idols,
    who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’
    will be turned back in utter shame.

Reflection

It is important to make plans for the future. Often it is God who gives us dreams, desires and visions for the future. Having direction toward a future is what keeps us moving forward. You can probably look back and see that where you are now is the result of decisions you made in the past, based on a dream or a plan. And as is usually the case with God, having plans for the future does not mean we only focus on that plan. In God’s plan it is important that while we look forward, we must also be firmly planted in the presence of God. We should have some vision and direction for our future, but our primary focus must not be on where we are going, but who we are following.

I know it sounds complicated, but it is not. Because, here’s the deal, if you are firmly planted in the presence of God, rooted in God’s love, your direction will come naturally from God. Oh, you will make some plans on your own, and God will change them. You will take steps in your own direction, but if you listen to the Holy Spirit, you will quickly be redirected. It’s kind of like our GPS or map devices telling us “Return to the route.”

The prophet Isaiah tells us God will “lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths, and turn the darkness into light before them.” When we are uncertain about the correct path to follow, God illuminates the way. Once again, let me remind you that this guidance comes from a rootedness in God’s loving presence. So before you make any plans for the future, be in the practice of daily time with God. From there you will find your vision for the days to come. 

Prayer

Heavenly Creator, Thank you for the pattern of new life you set in the world. Thank you that all of life is redeemable. Create in me a renewed spirit, new life, growth toward your righteousness. Keep me rooted in your love. Find in me the least desirable parts and let your light shine on them for healing and redemption. I am yours completely, Lord.  May your will be done in my life each day. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.