Tuesday of the Baptism of our Lord – Isaiah 43:1-7

1But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob,
   he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
   and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you.
3For I am the LORD your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
   Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4Because you are precious in my eyes,
   and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
   peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
   and from the west I will gather you.
6I will say to the north, Give up,
   and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
   and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7everyone who is called by my name,
   whom I created for my glory,
   whom I formed and made.”

I read a story a few weeks ago written by a woman who grew up not far from where I live. When she was a little girl, things did not go well with the neighbors who had some children just older than the author at the time. It started to escalate, and the boys in that other house first tried the kill their dog and then threatened to hurt this little girl. Her father went into full protection mode at this point. She would find candy wrappers and coffee mugs in the morning, the detritus of her father’s late-night vigils outside her bedroom window.

Eventually the sheriff was brought in, and boys next door were brought to heel. As she reflected on the story, told through the eyes of the little girl who she once was, the woman said that love come in many forms, and she had grown to understand that it might look like candy wrappers and coffee mugs outside your bedroom.

Isaiah recounts the passionate and extravagant love of God for His people.  He asserts his love, vows to attend upon them in the dangers of water and fire. He will give up everything for them, Egypt, Cush, and Seba will gladly be paid. God will call and the people will come home. Christians of course know that God did in fact go even farther than Isaiah saw here. He gave not only others, He gave himself for us. Today God tells us that His love has no end. He has not only made us, but He has redeemed us with His life’s blood. When you were baptized, God made this promise to you. He says that this is designed to make us less afraid today. Rest, be calm, and delight in God’s love for you. Don’t let your sins or the future trouble you. You and God will deal with them both together. He has you in his hands.

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