If only you had paid attention to my commands. Isaiah 48:18
In 1799, twelve-year-old Conrad Reed found a large, glittering rock in the stream that ran through his family’s small farm in North Carolina. He carried it home to show his father, a poor immigrant farmer. His father didn’t understand the rock’s potential value and used it as a doorstop. The family walked by it for years.
Eventually Conrad’s rock—actually a seventeen-pound gold nugget—caught the eye of a local jeweler. Soon the Reed family became wealthy, and their property became the site of the first major gold strike in the United States.
Sometimes we walk past a blessing, intent on our own plans and ways. After Israel was exiled to Babylon for disobeying God, He proclaimed freedom for them once again. But He also reminded them of what they’d missed. “I am the Lord your God,” He told them, “who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” God then encouraged them to follow Him away from old ways into a new life: “Leave Babylon . . . ! Announce this with shouts of joy” (Isaiah 48:17–18, 20).
Leaving Babylon, perhaps now as much as then, means leaving sinful ways and “coming home” to a God who longs to do us good—if only we’ll obey and follow Him!
What aspect of God do you look forward to as you walk with Him today? What can you do to gently lead others to His love?
Loving God, there’s no one like You! Help me embrace the opportunity to walk with You and discover the blessings You alone provide.
The people’s return from Babylon (Isaiah 48:12–20) was significant because Israel needed to be in the promised land for Messiah Jesus to come and be born in Bethlehem as prophesied (Micah 5:2). But perhaps the greatest importance of deliverance for Israel was that in this rescue, God had once again fulfilled His promises to His chosen people. The promises found in Jeremiah 25:11–12 motivated Daniel to pray for his displaced people (Daniel 9:2–3) that they’d be ready for rescue when the time came.