“Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones” (Isaiah 49:13, NIV).
The context of these joyful words is Isaiah’s prophecy of the restoration of his people from exile in Babylon to their homeland. He told the people God’s words about finding freedom (v. 9) and returning home (v. 12). But the people feared that they had been forsaken. After all, they had been in exile for decades. Had not God forsaken them because of their sin? “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me,” they wailed (v. 14).
Ever felt that way? Forgotten? Forsaken? Afflicted? Maybe you’ve been in “exile” for years, awaiting an answer from God, praying for the heavens to open and just send even a drop of blessing. Maybe you’ve felt the “dark night of the soul” for longer than you care to remember.
Hear this, my sister. No matter what got you there, no matter how long you’ve been there, no matter what you see around you or how you feel—God has not forgotten you. Just as a mother cannot “forget the baby at her breast . . . I will not forget you!” says your heavenly Father. “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (vv. 15–16).
For God’s people at the time, these words of comfort meant leaving Babylon and returning to their homeland. This was an amazing promise to a people who had given up hope. And history tells us that it all came true, just as God promised.
And just as the promises of Scripture came true for God’s people then, they are true for God’s people today. You are never out of His sight, never forgotten. Such love from our God is a reason for the heavens, the earth, and the mountains to shout for joy. The promises of freedom, of restoration, of belonging to a God who says that He cannot forget us, who has us engraved on His hands, who will renew and strengthen us—those are promises that should cause us to shout for joy.
God promises comfort and compassion on His afflicted ones. “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed”
Prayer: Some days, Lord, I feel so dry inside, like I’ve been in exile far from You. Some days I think I am not worthy of Your care or concern. Yet Your Word says You cannot forget me—that I am engraved on the palms of Your hands. Thank You that although I feel far away, I am not far. You are here, You are with me, You promise comfort and compassion. Draw me near today, dear Lord. I need the touch of Your nail-scarred palms. Thank You for what You did to bring me near to You.