Isaiah 46:3-4 (NLT) –“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.
“Hasn’t it already been so good? Being carried by God all these years. We’ve gotten to see over three decades worth of one another’s lives…We have gotten to see three decades worth of life stories amongst us…where we can point back at one another’s lives and both laugh and cry again and say, ‘God carried me, God carried you, God carried us through those times.’ Because each and every time we turned away from other passions, other pursuits and honored God as our first love – the one we place our trust in, the one who is worth our all…did he not draw near, pick us up and carry us once again on the path he has set for us?” [from Anne Kim’s message]
Spend a moment in thankfulness to the Lord, remembering how he has carried you in his faithful love.
Prayer: “Lord, we thank you that it is by your grace that we have been able to turn away from other passions and other pursuits and honored you as our first love. Jesus you are our greatest and first love! We thank you that we have experienced, are experiencing and will continue to experience your faithful ‘carrying’ in our lives!” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s close in worship with “The Blessing” by Kari Jobe/Elevation Worship. Let’s sing this over our lives as we prayerfully remember one another in the church and also, pray that others will be brought into being carried by our Father in Heaven.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
“Few people know how to rest these days. Even on vacation, many people rush to cram in as much as they can before returning to their jobs, where they spend twice as much energy catching up on the work and mail that piled up in their absence. Many of us need vacations just to rest from our vacations! Perhaps, we have been looking for rest in the wrong places. Jesus said, “Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest.” Like peace, rest and contentment can be found only in one place, from one source, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus gives us the ultimate rest, the confidence we need, to escape the frustration and chaos of the world around us. Rest in Him and don’t worry about what lies ahead. Jesus Christ has already taken care of tomorrow.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions, p. 42]
Daily, let’s turn away from the idols that hinder us and instead, come to the Lord, in full surrender and dependence on him.
Prayer: “Lord, I look to you and come to you in full surrender and dependence. Let me live restfully in your presence today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Isaiah 46:1-4 (NIV) –Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born.Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Here, it is very clear that God is the one who delivers us, and idols fail us. As we reflect on this truth, let’s remember Lien Briggs’ testimony: “…but realized how I had fixed my life all around my job security and being sure I wouldn’t lose it, because I felt like it was the only thing that allowed me to be sure…Thankfully we had Sunday worship the next day, God met me and I was able to repent of prideful and selfish thinking. I came to the Lord with all my burdens and concerns that I felt that I was supposed to take care of, when in fact I just had to lay them at his feet. I realized that I was living as if I was living without the Lord in this area of my life, and that I was not trusting in the Lord but, rather, taking things into my own hands…I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders and knew that God would take care of my career and my future much better than I could.”
Prayer: “Lord, I repent of my pride and selfish ways that have hindered me in fully depending on you. I surrender all the burdens, cares and worries I have today and lay them at your feet, because, you, Lord, never fail as you promise in your word of how you will carry me through all of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Ecclesiastes 2:10a,11 (NIV) – I denied myself nothing my eyes desired…Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Philippians 3:8 (NIV) –What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
“King Solomon was convinced he knew how to find happiness—and with his vast resources, he was able to pursue it. Wealth, fame, pleasure, power, lavish houses, a reputation for wisdom—you name it, King Solomon had it. Yet after gaining everything he had ever wanted, he reluctantly concluded that his life was still empty and without meaning. His search for lasting happiness had failed; his soul was empty. Are you like King Solomon—convinced that the things of this world will bring you happiness and peace, and pursuing them with all your might? Don’t be deceived; they never will. And the reason is because you were made to know God.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions, p. 24]
Prayer: “Lord, I see that all other pursuits are meaningless as I was created to know and to worship you. May you renew my heart with fresh passion to pursue you more than anything else and may you enable me through your Spirit to live in this passion for you today. In Jesus’s name. Amen.”
Isaiah 46:1-2 (NIV) – Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity.
“Isaiah has lingered over the problem of idols. He doesn’t want to move on until we understand that idols are basic to our daily lives. They’re so obvious to us, we don’t see them. We don’t see our culture; our culture is what we see with. We’re influenced in ways we don’t notice. We have problems and never understand their real cause. So, Isaiah wants us think about this until we see with new clarity that the salvation God offers is our only hope.” [Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Isaiah, Preaching the Word, p. 307]
This imagery in Isaiah 46:1-2 helps us to see that idols not only need to be carried, they become a “burden for the weary.” This is a helpful implication of whether we are holding on to idols and not living in the “carrying” of our God – whether we feel more weighed down and burdened by life – feeling tired, exhausted, frustrated or weary.
Are you feeling over-burdened and tired by life? Then, let’s ask ourselves – “what is consuming my heart more than the Lord? What am I really hoping in?”
Prayer: “Lord, would you help me to see the ‘idols’ in my heart? Help me to see with such clarity so that I can turn away from them and instead, look to you as you alone bring salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”