Our first reading is the heart stirring account of young Samuel in the Temple / tabernacle at Shiloh and the LORD calling him, “Samuel, Samuel” – and the message he received about the failure of Eli to discipline his sons. The ungodliness of their behaviour in serving the LORD makes sad reading – but it has had its parallels in every generation.
By contrast, the vision Isaiah records is fascinating, “Thus says the LORD, the redeemer of Israel …. In a time of favour I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you … to establish the land” (49:7,8). We recently read, “I am God … declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done … I will accomplish all my purpose” (46:9,10). The Jews over the centuries have often felt abandoned, but how significant are verses 13-15 in today’s chapter! “… the LORD … will have compassion on His afflicted … But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion … Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
As we reflect on the events of 70+ years ago we see how remarkable are verses 23,25 “… those who wait for me shall not be put to shame … for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children”. We have seen this happen in our youth, the nations surrounding the new born nation of Israel contended with her in vain, the “time of favour” had begun.
The chapters in Revelation are awesome, especially with the angels of God being “told … to harm …only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” (9:4). What does the “seal” symbolise? Ownership! John, in his gospel, recorded Jesus as saying, “Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life … on him (or her). God the Father has set his seal” (6:27).
May we all increasingly live with minds saturated with godly thoughts – and then resultant actions – that show we are committed to God and His Son – and will therefore experience the wonder of the ultimate “time of favour”.