“You must thank the Lord because He is good, and his love will never change. He will love us forever. The people who have been saved must tell that the Lord has set them free. They were suffering but He saved them. He brought them back from the land where they were, from the east and the west, from the north and the south.” Psalm 107:1-3 English Bible for the Deaf
We end our 'Redemption Story’ theme with the same verse with which we started. Over the month we’ve had time to explore and reflect on God’s redeeming power in the lives of His people in different situations and places – us included – and can confirm the psalmist’s words: “He is good … his love will never change… he will love us forever … he saves us … he brings us back home.”
'Repatriation' has become a buzzword in the news and ‘going home’ has reached a new level of meaning for people anticipating returning to their homeland, amidst the pandemic; home to fight it where they are known and loved, in the comfort of familiarity, when the world has become a strange and frightening place. Travelling there may involve long, hard journeys, and many hours in cramped conditions, but reaching the destination makes everything worth it, because it’s ‘home’.
How much more must the Israelites in exile have felt this? Returning to their own land was their greatest hope and longing over many long years, and their rejoicing was great when God finally returned them to home soil. “He brought them back from the land where they were, from the east and the west, from the north and the south” and saved them out of their suffering to return them to their own people and their own faith.
All people are away from God, in exile, in the foreign land of sin, but returning to Him and finding forgiveness through Jesus Christ brings redemption. Isaiah describes the supreme joy of the redeemed returning: joy becomes a golden crown on their heads, bright and shining, increasing exponentially as all sorrow is banished in the elation of their return.
Redeemed people know they are dearly loved and have been bought for a price that nobody else could pay - that joy lasts forever! They have a purpose to fulfil on earth and a purpose waiting in heaven. This is a pattern of rich living because it is doubly blessed through Christ our Saviour, and there is no longer room for sadness. Redemption is about joy that lasts forever.
“The ransomed of the LORD will return,” says Isaiah, "They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isaiah 51:11)
Home is where the heart is, and for the believer, home is with God, now and eternally. If He has set us free, we have a story to share so that others, too, will find their true home. Will you share yours?
Prayer: Father God, Thank You for Your rich gift of redemption through Jesus Christ, which brings us great joy on earth and will bring even greater joy in heaven. May Your Word take root in our hearts that we may tell our Redemption Story to others, in the power of Your Spirit, for Your glory. Amen