Isaiah 54: 4-8. 4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 7“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. 

Fear is a heck of a thing. So are shame, disgrace, humiliation and reproach. If you throw in desertion, distress, rejection and abandonment I’m not sure you could describe anything quite so awful to feel or experience. If you’ve gone through any of these and I’m guessing you have, you’re like me at least a little bit. And if you’re like me if someone were to offer you redemption or freedom from all that yuck you’d jump, no leap, at the chance to have it. Well, how about this promise in Isaiah then?

God says that he will take all that away. With compassion and kindness he will bring you back and out of that gunk and he will redeem you. But what does that mean really? I’m old enough to remember redeeming S&H Green Stamps (yeah, that really, really dates me, I know). If my memory is correct my mom got Green Stamps when she bought groceries. These green, gummed stamps were then licked and pasted in Green Stamp books. Once you accumulated a number of books they could be redeemed for something from the S&H Green Stamp store. What a concept! Truly the forerunner of the affinity program but here’s the deal. We could get something new simply because we had engaged in an activity (buying groceries) that we were going to do anyway. We got something special not because we were something special or had done something special. We got something because we were a part of a really big group, the grocery-buying public. And that’s the really good deal.

I’m not sure about you but I don’t see anything in Isaiah that says we have to accumulate a drawer full of stamps, lick them (shades of George Costanza’s late fiancé’) and put them into books in order to get something new. Nope, it appears to me that simply because we are His we’ve earned this; no pasting required. Our redemption in him means that nasty stuff, if it comes around again and it might because, you know, humans; won’t stick to us.

Our restoration, our redemption lies in the Lord. Thank God.

What do you carry around from which you need redemption? How do you need to be restored? Will you let the Lord do that for you? If you would like to share your thoughts, please comment below.

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