This morning as I was reading the book of Isaiah in chapter 49, verses 14 - 16 jumped off the page at me. Here's what it says:
But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me."
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."
Wow...a nursing mother may forget her baby, but God will never forget me! Hey, even though I'm not a mother, I know something of a mother's love, because my mom loved me so very much and it was obvious. Even in nature, everybody knows not to get between a mother and her offspring, such as a mother bear and her cubs. That scenario probably wouldn't turn out too well for you! And, God even amps it up a bit and relates this to a nursing mother. Again, I don't know from experience, but I understand that when a woman is nursing, it becomes uncomfortable in between feeding times as her breasts fill with milk, even to the point of being painful. So this along with the love that a mother has for the child makes it impossible for the mother to forget her child.
In this verse, God says that as unlikely as it is that a mother may forget her nursing child, it is even more unlikely that God will ever forget us, even when we are rebelling and in bondage to our sin! How many times have I (Zion), believed that I was forgotten by God because I was just not good enough. That is a lie straight from the mouth of hell! The truth is in this verse and in Deuteronomy 31: 6 where God says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." The key word there is NEVER...sweet!
All that is awesome, but then I read and meditated on the next verse, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." In the King James version of the bible, the word which is translated "engraved" is "graven". So, I pulled out my trusty Strong's Concordance and looked up the Hebrew word for graven; it is "chaqaq", which means "to hack". I then looked up the word, "hack" in the dictionary and found this definition: "to cut, slice, chop, or sever as with heavy irregular blows". Wow...in my head I immediately saw Jesus' hands being "hacked" into by nails as He was hung on a cross to die for my sins. For those of you who know me, this won't be a surprise, but tears of joy began to stream down my face thinking about how much love it took for Jesus to die such a painful death on the cross for ME! Yes, we are forever engraved on the palms of His hands and this was to show us how much He loves us! He has already paid for all our sins the day that the nails were "hacked" into his hands.
Then I started thinking about and meditating on the part of the verse that says, "your walls are ever before me". The context of this is that Israel is in captivity in Babylon, but my thoughts went to the many years that I was in captivity to my sin and broken-ness, all the while, trying to medicate using the world's prescription of accumulating stuff, power, and chasing sensuality. Then I visualized Jesus standing outside the walls of a city of captives, with outstretched arms showing the nail scars in his palms--without a word saying, "I love you, I want to heal you; tear down the walls you've built around your heart and let me in so that I can". I know that this was me for years. Even after I became born again, I still had little "Babylons" or strongholds in my heart that I was holding onto, "just in case"! "In case what," you may ask. In case God had forgotten me and was not there. I think many other people are like me. Holding onto earthy things because they think that God is going to somehow forget them. The best decision that I've ever made was to give my whole heart to God. I know He is right here with me. Philippians 4: 19 says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus". When I get up in the morning to read His word, pray, and just soak in His presence; He shows up and meets my need to be loved just like He did this morning! Because He is faithful to meet one need, I know that He will meet all my other needs as well. Since I have given my whole heart to Him, He has shown up in dreams, prophetic words from complete strangers, and in the many amazing and beautiful, like-minded friends that He has placed in my life. Second Corinthians 3: 17 says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom." I know this is true! When you know that the worst thing another human can do to you is take your life; but, if that happens you will immediately see the face of your Lord and Savior, and will be in the presence of pure Love that heals completely...that my friend is freedom!