“The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins.” (Isaiah 51:3)
Look to the rock; look to the quarry; look to Abraham; look to Sarah; lift your eyes to the heavens; look at the earth beneath. These are all words of encouragement from the prophet Isaiah to people who were looking ahead to God’s promised deliverance. They were in exile but knew of God’s promise to take them home.
Those words of encouragement are there for us also as we look to find the strength to endure and to keep moving forward. Look back to see where you have come from and who made you; look around to see those whom God is blessing you though; look down to the firm foundation that has been given to you in Christ; look up and recognize the one who has created the heavens and the earth; look forward to the promises that have made to you.
But in the middle of the words from Isaiah, we read: “The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins” (Isaiah 51:3). The Lord will look! He does and will look upon us.
Our looking back, around, down, up, etc is all fine. We can and need to do that. But the most significant looking is that which our Lord does. He looks at us. He has us in his sights. He searches for us. He fixes his attention on us. He gazes upon us, with compassion.
We are not people who are sought out for punishment (for what we deserve). We are not people who need to feel that God is watching and waiting for us to put a foot wrong and then come down on us like a ton of bricks. We are his special people on whom he has compassion.
And as we are joined to the Father in and through Jesus Christ, we can be confident that his promises to us, his salvation for us, and his righteousness with which we are clothed will never fail.
He looks out for us, and so we can be filled with joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and the sound of singing.
Thank you, Lord, that you continue to look out for us and see us as precious in your eyes. Fill us with joy and gladness in your presence and help us to reflect that in our living and serving as your people. Amen.