The Gathering of Israel, One by OneDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Yet the time will come when the LORD will gather them together like handpicked grain. One by one he will gather them—from the Euphrates River in the east to the Brook of Egypt in the west.
Isaiah 27 foresees the exile of Israel and, beyond that, the time in which God will gather his people once again. Though they have been scattered throughout the world, the Lord will bring them back to their land and to himself.
Isaiah 27:12 employs a harvesting image. The Hebrew literally speaks of God as threshing and gleaning the grain, using a process that allowed the farmer to distinguish the grain from the chaff. The addition of the phrase “one by one” emphasizes God’s personal attention to each one of his children.
Most of us have not experienced literal exile in our lives. We live in the country of our birth and/or of our choosing. Yet the image of exile gives expression to our sense of not quite belonging to this world as it is. We yearn for the Lord and the fullness of his kingdom. We look ahead to the day when God will gather all of us into his new creation, a day when we will be truly at home with the Lord and truly united to his people.
Yet, in anticipation of that future gathering, God seeks us and brings us to himself “one by one.” God isn’t just in the business of “saving the world.” He seeks us out individually, inviting us to know him and to be part of his work of putting the world back together.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced some sort of exile? When? How did it feel? Do you ever feel as if you don’t quite belong to this world? When? What difference does this make in your life?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, I’m struck by this image of you gathering your people “one by one.” Though you are the Creator and Sovereign of the universe, and though your plans encompass the whole earth, nevertheless you care about each individual person . . . including me.
Thank you, gracious God, for gathering me to yourself. Thank you for caring about me personally. Thank you for inviting me to have an intimate relationship with you. Thank you for the many times when you have sought me out when I was lost.
Dear Lord, may I live this day as one who has been gathered by you. May I continue in fellowship with you throughout the day, and live each moment for your kingdom and glory. Amen.