Tuesday 21 December 2021

Bible Book:

They shall be called, ‘The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord. And you shall be called ‘Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.’ (v. 12)

Isaiah 62:10-12 Tuesday 21 December 2021

Psalm 96


In today's reading, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah is talking to the Jews who, after an extended exile in faraway Babylon, are returning to their own land and to their city of Jerusalem. Isaiah was so emphatic in his call to the people that he repeats his instructions – "Go through, go through! Build up, build up!" And who can blame him? The  people were probably hesitant as the city of Jerusalem lay in ruins.

Isaiah (possibly the third prophet by that name) recognised that the people needed encouragement to go through the gateways, to walk over the rubble into the streets of the city, to ‘own’ the place again. For years, they had been in captivity, but they had retained a vision of the wonderful city they had left. To return and find it in ruins was shocking – it  would be more nightmare than vision.

But it isn’t the city which makes the nation. The Jews are a people because God has called them by name, they have their identity in him. Names are of great significance in the Bible: individuals such as Jacob, Simon and Saul become new people –  Israel, Peter and Paul – when they respond to God. These disconsolate returnees are now to be called wonderful names: The Holy People, The Redeemed of God, Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. (v. 12)

To be called by name is important. It makes you, me and anyone else a person, an individual, and not just a statistic, a category or a number. Today as migrants and refugees arrive in these islands, let us take care to learn their names as a sign that we care for all made in the image of God, who always calls us by name.


To Ponder:

  • How do you feel when people forget your name – or call you by the wrong name? Does it matter to you?
  • Think of vulnerable people whose names you don’t know - yet! And then how you might make an opportunity to find out.


Loving God, you made each of us in your image and call us by name; give us the grace to see those around us in that light and call each one by name. Amen.

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