Daily encouragement

Video by

Kendra Cortez

ACF Devo Team

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Isaiah 49:15-16

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

Behind the Scenes

Isaiah was a vehicle of God’s word to Judah and there is some debate as to if this portion of Scripture was written during or after the exile. Regardless, the people of God were wrestling with the idea of Israel’s restoration. The people of God were feeling alone, forgotten, like maybe God no longer favored them. They were afraid of their future.

To be fair, the exile was a result of Israel forgetting God’s law. They were not faithful, not obedient, and not focused on honoring Yahweh. Now they are suffering the consequence of placing themselves so far from him, and it hurt. In the previous verse, Zion (another name for Israel or Jerusalem) cries out, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me” (Isa. 49:14). In fact, it was they who had forgotten God. But God’s response to them is both simple and comforting.

Make it Real

There are times when we feel disparaged, discouraged, and hopeless, and in those moments, we have an opportunity to submit those feelings to the truth of God’s word, being reminded of his character and what he says about our value and worth to him. In such moments, we can recall this passage.

Imagine telling your parents that you think they forgot about you. Maybe it’s been a week since you last called them – do you think you need to reintroduce yourself when you get them on the phone again? Of course not. They recognize your voice immediately – even if caller ID doesn’t give away your identity. Just the same, God knows you. He has not forgotten you. He asks, “Does a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion?”

God could have been compared Israel to a child in this verse, but instead he compares her to a baby. We cry out, make our needs known, and a nursing mother’s own body reminds her of the child. There is no way to forget! There are natural reminders of the connectedness and dependency. In the same way, God meets our need with compassion and sustains our very life. We often talk of God as the Father, but here we see him as a loving mother, tender, attentive, and full of loving compassion.

He goes on to say, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hand.” This is a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice for God’s people. He says “Your walls are ever before me.” To a people who are in or returning from exile, they have no city wall for protection. God says he is watching over and covering their physical need for security. They can rest in Him, knowing he is their safety. Those who stand watch are not ignorant of those they protect.

Not only does God nourish you, he makes atonement for you. Not only does he see you, he watches over you. How great is his love for us! His character is not to forget, but to make a way. God is for you. God hears you. God responds.

End in Prayer

Almighty God, help me to remember your character of love and compassion. Remind me in moments of loneliness and despair that you are not far. You are as near as a nursing mother and attentive as a guard on the wall. You are my source of life and strength. May I submit my emotions to your truth. Eliminate my fear, my despair, and my insecurity, that I may be found secure in you. Amen.

Written by

Drew Ames

ACF Devo Team