Isaiah 25:1-9 (NRSV)
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled.
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
You have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
- Isaiah 25:4 (NRSV)
WHEN North America's early settlers cleared their land for farming, they often left a tree in the center of a field. They called it a "resting tree." It gave them and their livestock a place to rest, and it provided some shade from the summer sun when they worked in the field.
Christ can be our "resting tree." In the Gospel of Matthew, he offers us both an invitation and a promise: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29). When we are weak and tired from the load of life's burdens, Christ will carry them and let us rest. He will help us to find solutions for our problems and hope instead of our fears.
We find rest for our souls -- a refuge and a shelter -- when we clear a space for Christ in our lives.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you for the assurance that you will give us rest if we come to you. In your name we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
How can I clear a space for Christ in my life each day?
Those who work outdoors
By Delbert Harmon, Ohio