(Isaiah 62: 1-5)
z i o n
no more are you called "desolate"
no more are you called "forsaken"
no more are you called "looked over", "forgotten" or "mistaken"
for you have been seen by the Creator of the Earth
He looks at you and gives you a new name
"My delight is in her"
and now you will never be the same.
Do you long for a new name?
Do you long for a new beginning, for a renewed promise, an enlightened future?
So did the Israelites.
The supposed "Chosen" people endured slavery, capture, torture, and persecution. They were promised a land to dwell- a safe place to rest after hundreds of years of enslavement.
Yet, they didn't receive the promise when they wanted. Sometimes, the Promised Land seemed like a fable, nothing more than a soothing bed time story. Reality felt like dirt between their sandals and exhaustion between their bones. Reality felt like God gave up but they had to keep moving on. The Promised Land had no place in a desolate, forsaken heart.
Yet, the Lord reminds the Israelites of His promise in today's first reading, starting with his promise to never stop fighting. "For Zion's sake," The God of the Universe says, "I will not be silent." In a world of dark despair, God promises not only hope, but a new life.
A new name.
Zion - "My delight is in her".
Although the Israelites were God's chosen people, they were not perfect in the slightest. How many Old Testament readings do you hear that tells the riveting tale of the Israelites grumbles? How many times have you banged your head on the table for their ignorance? Too many.
Yet, God still fights. Yet, God gives them- the most unworthy people, a new name.
"My delight is in her."
Not was in her, or shall be in her. IS in her. Even with the mess-ups, lack of trust, and continued disobedience, God finds delight in Israel.
We are Israel. We are the Chosen people. We are also the grumbling, the desolate, the forsaken people. He is not surprised by our stony hearts. He is not surprised at our brokenness. Instead, He delights in it. Just as He chased down the Israelites and led them to the Promised Land, so too will He chase down you until You're with Him in Heaven.
You are no longer forsaken. You are chosen.
You are no longer desolate. You are delighted in.
Will you allow Him to claim your heart? Will you allow Him to give you a new name?
He longs to take you there. He longs to hold your heart and bring it to Salvation.