"A Love Letter That Lasts "
June 26, 2017
Isaiah 43:1 - But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine."
Does anybody write letters anymore? Does anyone receive letters anymore? Okay, let's get more serious. Are there any of you out there who write or receive "love" letters anymore? That's right, love letters. I thought that if there were people who still sent and received letters, it would have to be those who sent letters of love, right? After all, who else would take the time to put pen to paper just for you?
Well, my grandparents used to talk about receiving letters back in the days before TV and radio. When a person you cared for sent one of those letters, you wouldn't just read it once and throw it away. You'd read it over and over and over again; then you'd put it in a safe place to read it some more. Each word mattered. The punctuation mattered. When someone you loved wrote that letter it was a treasure that made life worth living, literally.
So, think about it. If the power of human words of love sent with a spirit that wanted you to be able to read it over and over again because you truly mattered to the sender ... if that is the power of human words from one who loves you, then listen up! Because the prophet Isaiah says something even more incredible. He says that God's Word is a love letter that God Himself has written to a sinful world to tell them about life and a salvation that He wants for each person on the face of the planet -- past, present, and future.
Today, God Himself is calling out to you by name, telling you that He has a life and salvation for you. He is literally sending you a message through His prophet, Isaiah, but even more certainly, through His Son Jesus Christ.
If you are listening in today, I challenge you to pick up a Bible sometime this week. Just read this passage in Isaiah 43, "Fear not (God says), I have redeemed you, you are Mine." I love you! Or read the book of John in the New Testament, where it says that the same God of Isaiah "so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son" to save you and me. (See John 3:16.) Get a glimpse of the love of God in action, in and through each and every word.
You see, in the old days, when you read a love letter from your fiancé or from a loved family member who was away or yearned to be home, you didn't just see words on the page, you saw the person who wrote those words; you heard the voice of the one who made each and every word possible. That's the picture of God the prophet Isaiah wants you to see in the words he proclaims. The God of the Bible doesn't just speak words; He proclaims words that make life possible for you and me.
Just listen: God Himself promised to His people, then as now: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" (Isaiah 43:2-3a).
And that's just a glimpse of the rescue He provides to the world in Jesus. Read His love letter to you, and see!
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, teach me to value each Word of the Scripture, not as some book of philosophical principles, not as merely law, or stories of religious people in the past, but what it is: a love letter of Your saving works that make real, abundant life possible for me, for all, today and forever. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries