by Tom Brennen
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‘Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life’ (Isaiah 43:4).
Have you ever been given a place of honour?
The most uncomfortable I have ever been with honour was when I was working as a missionary in the Middle East. As a ‘white-faced westerner’, wherever I went, I received unearned honour. I would be served first, and at government offices, a path would be cleared. Even at the airport, some people assumed that I was a first-class passenger and should receive special treatment.
As Australians and New Zealanders, we find this very hard. We are pretty flat societies. We are people who find it hard to ride in the back seat of the taxi or the Uber. We acknowledge the work of politicians and leaders, but our depreciative humour ensures they never think too highly of themselves.
So how do you react when God says to you, ‘You are precious, you are honoured, and I love you. I give people in exchange for you?’
Do you, like most of us, defer and deflect? ‘Thanks, God, but I know that you love everyone, and they are more important than me.’ But God continues, ‘No. I love you. I will give my Son in exchange for you. You are precious to me. You have honour. You are worth the death of my own child’.
To follow our thoughts of baptism from our devotion yesterday, Martin Luther reminds us to remember our baptism daily. Why? So that we recall our preciousness to God. We are washed clean and made new through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus. It is from this basis we can live our lives abundantly and without fear. While we make mistakes and feel worthless, God gives us a place of honour again and again and again. He relentlessly lifts us up to him when we fail.
As verse 7 reminds us, we were created for God’s glory, formed and made for his purposes. Let us live in this reality.
Father, we give thanks for our redemption through the blood of your Son. Let us live in the reality of our preciousness to you and seek to share your good news with our sisters and brothers across the world. Amen.