Isaiah 66:18b, 19b-21 - The time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see My glory ... And they shall declare My glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD.
Do you know what an exile is? It is someone who lives far away from home, who can never go back. My husband is an exile of sorts; he fled Vietnam as one of the boat people, and he has never returned. It might not be safe for him to go home again. But I know that he misses his first country very much.
It's a special kind of grief, living in exile. Many ancient people used it as a kind of punishment, the pain goes so deep. And the people of Judah had good reason to know that pain. They were scattered when Jerusalem fell, and their enemies took them far, far away and scattered them among the nations. They never expected to see home again.
But now the Lord announces a miracle: the exiles will come home again. And not by their own efforts, either. Their enemies, the very nations who enslaved them, will carry them back to the Lord as offerings. They will come home to be priests of the Lord, serving the God who redeemed them. They will be home—this time, forever.
Coming home where we belong. This is what the Lord wants for you—for me—for all of us. The whole human race has been exiled since very early on—ever since we rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, since we turned our backs on Him and tried to build a life without Him. But now we know: there is no such life. The Lord is our life, and our home, and our happiness. How we need Him!
But we cannot go back by our own effort. The trip is too far; the road is too rough. We need carrying. We need someone to fetch us, to heal our wounds, to bring us home again. And that is what Jesus has done for us.
He left heaven and went searching for us, lost as we were. He called us back to the Lord with everything He said and did. And because He knew that words wouldn't be enough, He lay down His own life to bring us back to God—to carry us safely to the Father, forgiven and loved and home again. Now everyone who trusts in Him is home, home forever—living with the everlasting, joyful life of the Savior who rose from the dead to make us God's own.
WE PRAY: Thanks be to God! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you know anyone who lives far from the place they were born? How do they feel about that?
2. If you live far from your first home, what do you miss about it?
3. When you feel far from God, how does Jesus comfort and bring you home?
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