Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Encouragement! A dictionary definition of the word tells us that it is to give courage to someone or to inspire with hope or boldness. Courage, hope, boldness — do you have plenty of these, or are you like me and needing all the encouragement you can get?
When Isaiah wrote the words at the top of the page he was writing a message from God to his people who were still in captivity in Babylon. The chapter goes on to speak of the people having to pass through waters, walk through fire and through rivers — in other words they had to face many and terrifying difficulties.
They really did need courage, hope and boldness! But God said to them, "You are mine." Yes the people had to come through difficulties but nothing would destroy them or take them out of God's hand. He loved them, he saved them and he would take them back home again.
The same message comes to us in the New Testament. Just think of this: "Do you think anyone is going to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble nor hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats ... None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us." (Romans 8:36-37, The Message) Courage, hope, and boldness — we can have them all with the Lord Jesus on our side!
Thank you Lord for the encouragement of your word. Amen.