“Do Not Be Afraid”
God’s promised punishment had occurred: Jerusalem had been destroyed and the Israelites were in exile. In this dismal time, a prophet arose who wrote words of hope that God had not utterly rejected God’s people but would be their savior, bringing them out of exile and restoring Jerusalem. God continues to uphold God’s portion of the covenant even though God’s people have been unfaithful. God promises that from the east and the west, from all the places where the Israelites have been scattered, God will gather them together. To God, Israel is precious, honored, and loved. Because they are God’s people, God knows them and calls them by name. The assurance that God is always there, even during times of crises when hope seems lost, are comforting words in a time of chaos and despair.
Christians can see in this passage the concept of redemption that occurred due to Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. Because of sin, humanity deserved destruction and exile from God’s presence. Christ bore our sins and died in our place out of love for us, because we have been and continue to be precious, honored, and beloved in God’s sight. We should have no fear, for we know that God is with us.
Listen to “You Are Mine” by David Haas. Hear the words of comfort and promise that banish fear, for God loves you and calls you by name.
Anne Knighten is a Senior in the MDiv-DL program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She lives in Redlands, CA with her husband, Scott, and has two adult daughters, Jenn and Celeste.
©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.