Isaiah 65:1-3a, 8-9 - I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, "Here I am, here I am," to a nation that was not called by My Name. I spread out My hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke Me to My face continually ... Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, 'Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,' so I will do for My servants' sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of My mountains; My chosen shall possess it, and My servants shall dwell there."
Living in St. Louis, you learn very quickly that fruits and vegetables don't keep long. Even in the refrigerator, the high humidity and mold count of this river city means that your beautiful cluster of grapes turns into a moldy monstrosity far too fast. And then you look at the mess and wonder: "Should I just throw out the whole thing, or are any good grapes left in there?"
God is describing something similar in this passage. The grape harvesters find a cluster of bad grapes. But not all the grapes are bad. There are still a few in there that are good enough to be made into wine. And so the harvesters say, "Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it." The good grapes go into the vat, not into the trash. And someday, someone enjoys a nice glass of wine.
These past few years have brought out the worst in many people. After seeing so much terrible behavior, it's tempting to just give up on the human race—to turn cynical, or even to join wicked people and grabbing for whatever we can get. After all, who will notice? Who will care?
God notices, and God cares. He has not forgotten us, even when it seems like the world has gone mad and there is no help or comfort anywhere. His hand is upon us, and He is working to save us. Even when the rot invades our own lives, He calls us back to Himself. He brings us to repentance, and He forgives us and draws us close to Him. And He helps us to deal with the darkness all around us. God reminds us that He, not the world, will have the victory.
We know this is true, because we have seen God do it before. God's own Son Jesus was born into this world of darkness and distress. Like us, He lived with daily trouble and suffering. He knows what it's like.
And yet, He did not give up. Jesus came to destroy the darkness, using the power of His own willing sacrifice. By laying down His life, He broke the power of death over the human race. And by rising again, He gave all of us hope and assurance that this world's darkness is not the end. Jesus will come again, and He will share His everlasting life with all of us—everyone who trusts in Him. That's something to look forward to!
WE PRAY: Lord, when I am worried about this world, help me to trust in You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What has been the hardest part of the last 5 years or so for you?
2. How has God strengthened you during these difficult years?
3. How do you find hope and joy in Jesus as you look to the future?
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