I believe that whatever God said to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament was also a message to all God’s followers. I’ve been reading the book of Isaiah recently. I was reminded why this book was one of my favorites, even when I was in my twenties. The beauty of God’s relentless love shines out of this book.
These are some verses that have lifted me up the last few weeks:
“I have held you up since the day of your birth. I have carried you since you were born. Even to your old age and grey hairs, I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I have made you; I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
“Look, he (God) tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms; he carries them close to his heart and leads those that have young.”
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even young people grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”
“Do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will hold you up by my righteous right hand.”
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear. I will help you. I myself will help you.”
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”
“I have swept away your sins like a cloud. Your sins, like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other.”
“If only you had paid attention to me, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Will she have no compassion on the child she has borne? Even though mothers can forget, yet I will not forget you. Your name is engraved on the palms of my hands. Your ways are always before me.”
I heard someone on a podcast say that God didn’t tell people in the Old Testament that he loved them. I’m not sure why he would have said that. The Old Testament is full of the love of God. Many times God said he loved us. The angel Gabriel told Daniel he was, “greatly beloved.”
No, there is lots of death and war in the Old Testament and people don’t understand why all that happened and seem to be afraid of the God of the Old Testament. I was that way too.
I knew from the way Jesus acted God was full of love, so I studied why these killings and wars happened. Now I understand God’s purposes. It was in mercy for the thousands of innocent people who lived among cruel, murderous people that he stepped in and stopped what the evil ones were doing. And I, for one, am grateful he did.