Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 4.25.21

By April 25, 2021Daily Bread

I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

Today’s Scripture:

Isaiah 49:14-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

About 2,700 years ago, the prophet Isaiah tried to bring hope to a people who had lost all hope.  The Babylonians had exiled them from their homeland.  Imagine being removed from your home and carted hundreds of miles away.

The people were on the sharp edge of despair, and they cried out, “The Lord has forsaken me. My Lord has forgotten me.”  Perhaps you have felt that way. Maybe the husband or wife who promised to love and cherish you until death did not remain faithful. You may have been the victim of abuse. Perhaps that biopsy you prayed so hard about came back positive, and you watched in horror as a loved one wasted away.

If you have been in any of those difficult places, you perhaps cried out as did the ancient Israelites: “The Lord has forsaken me. My Lord has forgotten me.” Even Jesus as he agonized on the cross, cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Isaiah, the prophet, came through with God’s powerful answer to their despair:  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?  Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.  See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”  God’s answer to God’s people is that they could never be forsaken or forgotten!  God is always faithful to the covenant and God always holds them close.  God’s response is that the divine love could no more forget the people than a mother could forget her nursing child.  Even if a mother could forget, God never will forget.  Then, Isaiah found an image that illustrated dramatically God’s unchanging love for us.  God says, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.”

This was an image that would have been familiar to the people because it is based on two customs in Babylon.  Idol worshipers tattooed the name of their God on their palms as an ever-present symbol of their devotion and their worship.  In ancient Babylon, young men in love tattooed the name of their beloved on their palms as a symbol of faithfulness.  Believers in Zion would have been deeply moved by the thought of a tattoo on God’s palm that read ISRAEL.  Every time God opens the divine hands, then, God sees the reminder of the people in bondage and the walls of the holy city in ruins.  The tattoo will never let God forget them or fail in the promise to deliver them and restore Jerusalem. (David L. McKenna, The Communicator’s Commentary, Isaiah 40-66, Dallas: Word Books, 1994, pp. 514-516.)

God’s love, unlike that of humans, is never fickle. It is constant, unquenchable, and persistent. It is as though your name is tattooed on God’s very hands. Even though we may disappoint and desert God, that tattoo on the divine hand is indelible.  God will never fail us or forsake us.  What a comfort! What a joy! Most of our relationships are performance-based. If we perform well, we are appreciated. If we fail, we are no longer acceptable.  But not with God!  God can stand the full truth of what we are and will keep on loving.

Decisions we make can take us out of God’s will but never out of God’s reach.  As 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Some of you may have distanced from God. Perhaps you have felt forsaken, disappointed or disillusioned by life, wondering if God knows your situation or even cares. I invite you to hear the good news that God cannot forget you. Your name is tattooed on God’s hands, ever in the heart of God.

This is the consistent message of scripture about our covenant God.  God holds us close and nothing can ever cause God to forget us.  Think of the most loving mother, who wouldn’t—in fact, who COULDN’T—ever forget her nursing child.  God’s love is even greater than that.

The apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Those who are in covenant with God are written on the palms of God’s hands!  Listen to Paul’s words in the 8th chapter of Romans: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. Listen to this hymn on SoundCloud.

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
There is no shadow of turning with thee
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be

And great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Summer and winter, springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love

And great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Pardon for sin and peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside

And great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

Here’s more about this passage of scripture via Upper Room devotionals:

GOD OF THE FUTURE

Because God holds the future, I can face tomorrow.

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