The Promise of Return

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

Isaiah 35:10

The theme of exile and return runs through the Old Testament prophets, right into the New Testament. Beginning with the Assyrian defeat of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. and augmented when Babylon overthrew Judah in 587 B.C., God’s people were scattered throughout the world. They longed for the day when the Lord would gather them again to the Promised Land and to himself.

Though most of us don’t find ourselves in literal exile, we can relate to the sense of being separated from our true home, from the Lord. Like the Jews, we yearn for the day when we will be gathered into God’s presence with all of his people.

In the meanwhile, we enjoy samples of the messianic banquet yet to come. When we gather for joyful worship, we experience something of the future. When we come to the Lord’s Supper to be renewed in his grace, we get a taste of the future. Thus we are renewed so that we might live with hope in a world so filled with despair.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you think of your future with the Lord, what do you envision? How do you feel? When have you experienced something of “heaven on earth”?

PRAYER: O Lord, even as your people longed to be reunited to you, so I long to know you better. I cling to the hope that, one day, I will see you face to face. What a glorious day that will be!

In that hope, I seek to live for you each day. Help me to share this hope with others, not in a naïve way, but with confidence that points people to you.

May I learn to take greater delight in the times when I get a glimpse of the future. Help me to take more joy when I gather with your people for worship. May I be filled with joyful expectation when I receive your supper.

Thank you, dear Lord, for the future you have planned for me . . . and for all of your people. How good and gracious you are! Amen.