8 day plan

Hope in a Time of Disaster

Day 4 of 8

Isaiah 43:2-3

2When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you,

and the rivers will not overwhelm you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be scorched,

and the flame will not burn you.

3For I am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior.

I have given Egypt as a ransom for you,

Cush and Seba in your place.

Reflections: We have a lot of encouragement in the Scriptures. In times of disasters such as bushfires and floods, we may turn to passages such as from the Prophet Isaiah for comfort. At the same time, we wonder at such promises when we see the devastation of floods and fires which afflict people regardless of their faith. We have seen people and places flooded and burnt, but at the same time know the truth of God’s Word. We know that God’s people throughout time have had the same experience. Faith is not a force-field which holds the ills and suffering of life at bay. We may not fully comprehend the full meaning of such promises, nor why there has to be such awful happenings in the world, but we can know that whilst our spirits may get singed sometimes and the light of our faith threatened to be drowned by the hardships of life, God is faithful and will bring us through.  When we place our trust in God through the Spirit and in Christ, our saviour, we can find and have hope. This love of God will bring us through all things, even though it might involve time and struggles. May we know that God is with us and is able to fill our lives and living in ways which help us recover after suffering.

Prayer:
Immanuel,
God with us,
It is you in whom we put our faith.
Who else could we turn to in times of desperation and devastation?
Who else can we truly seek to bring us through times of hardship and suffering?
Who else can bring us through grief and loss?
Your promises are true and we hold them in our hearts.
Sometimes we struggle in our minds to understand their meaning,
And it can be a challenge to our faith when things don’t go the way we expect them to and we have to endure suffering and trials,
But we know that you have never stepped away from us,
In your deep compassion, as Christ, you have lived through pain and persecution,
You have even endured death to bring us resurrection, redemption and hope.
In your love, bring us through the worst of life,
Through its flames and floods.
Enfold us in communion as your people,
That we might not only receive help and support when we need,
But embody it for others as we seek to be your Church,
As we give of ourselves,
Just as you give of yourself.
This we honestly seek to pray.
Amen.

Days

Isaiah 43:1-28

Restoration of Israel

1Now this is what the Lord says —

the one who created you, Jacob,

and the one who formed you, Israel —

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name; you are mine.

2When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you,

and the rivers will not overwhelm you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be scorched,

and the flame will not burn you.

3For I am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior.

I have given Egypt as a ransom for you,

Cush and Seba in your place.

4Because you are precious in my sight

and honored, and I love you,

I will give people in exchange for you

and nations instead of your life.

5Do not fear, for I am with you;

I will bring your descendants from the east,

and gather you from the west.

6I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’

and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’

Bring my sons from far away,

and my daughters from the ends of the earth —

7everyone who bears my name

and is created for my glory.

I have formed them; indeed, I have made them.”

8Bring out a people who are blind, yet have eyes,

and are deaf, yet have ears.

9All the nations are gathered together,

and the peoples are assembled.

Who among them can declare this,

and tell us the former things?

Let them present their witnesses

to vindicate themselves,

so that people may hear and say, “It is true.”

10“You are my witnesses” —

this is the Lord’s declaration —

“and my servant whom I have chosen,

so that you may know and believe me

and understand that I am he.

No god was formed before me,

and there will be none after me.

11I — I am the Lord.

Besides me, there is no Savior.

12I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed —

and not some foreign god among you.

So you are my witnesses” —

this is the Lord’s declaration —

“and I am God.

13Also, from today on I am he alone,

and none can rescue from my power.

I act, and who can reverse it?”

God’s Deliverance of Rebellious Israel

14This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says:

Because of you, I will send an army to Babylon

and bring all of them as fugitives,

even the Chaldeans in the ships in which they rejoice.

15I am the Lord, your Holy One,

the Creator of Israel, your King.

16This is what the Lord says —

who makes a way in the sea,

and a path through raging water,

17who brings out the chariot and horse,

the army and the mighty one together

(they lie down, they do not rise again;

they are extinguished, put out like a wick) —

18“Do not remember the past events;

pay no attention to things of old.

19Look, I am about to do something new;

even now it is coming. Do you not see it?

Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert.

20Wild animals —

jackals and ostriches — will honor me,

because I provide water in the wilderness,

and rivers in the desert,

to give drink to my chosen people.

21The people I formed for myself

will declare my praise.

22“But, Jacob, you have not called on me,

because, Israel, you have become weary of me.

23You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings

or honored me with your sacrifices.

I have not burdened you with offerings

or wearied you with incense.

24You have not bought me aromatic cane with silver,

or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.

But you have burdened me with your sins;

you have wearied me with your iniquities.

25“I am the one, I sweep away your transgressions

for my own sake

and remember your sins no more.

26Remind me. Let’s argue the case together.

Recount the facts, so that you may be vindicated.

27Your first father sinned,

and your mediators have rebelled against me.

28So I defiled the officers of the sanctuary,

and set Jacob apart for destruction

and Israel for scorn.