The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, January 12, 2022 comes to us from Mike Medeiros of California
1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. 2 The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. 3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 No longer will they call you Deserted or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. 5 As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:1-5 NIV
“A New Name”
I got into a lot of trouble in school, and my report cards always included comments about my bad behavior. Because of my actions, those comments described me in ways that were not positive, though they were frequently deserved. Surprisingly, one teacher thought I was redeemable. She named other traits in her comments and in person that revealed my positive attributes. Naturally, my self-esteem increased. In time, others began to see these positive traits in me as well.
This one teacher gave me the confidence to live a new way and cast the old identity aside. This wasn’t merely a change of perspective but a transformation from God.
The prophet Isaiah documented a similar situation with Israel. They had sinned but God was gracious, welcoming them back and providing hope. God gave them a new name. “Forsaken” was changed to “My Delight Is in Her” (see Isa. 62:4). Israel’s righteousness was only possible because God saves and redeems. We are described by God’s grace rather than the labels of our own sinful condition. Just as my teacher gave me a new identity, God also restores us so we can reveal God’s amazing attributes!
Since I retired from appointive ministry, I have felt a little disconnected from our Annual Conference. There have been many improvements, like the joining of the Detroit Annual Conference and the West Michigan Annual Conference. But the changes have simply left me less acquainted with my colleagues. Recently, I was attending a funeral. The presiding pastor was someone who I had seen rarely before I retired. Still, she recognized me by name. We chatted briefly about our common ministry in Michigan.
Her simple act of kindness left me feeling better about myself in general and about my presence in the Michigan Annual Conference, and I am grateful for her sharing God’s presence with me that day.
Dear God, thank you for naming us and calling us your own. Help us to live in a way that brings you glory. Amen.
Someone who helps me see my Potential
Thought for the Day:
My identity as God’s child is stronger than any label others can give me