Bel crouches; Nebo cowers. Idols depicting them are consigned to beasts and cattle. The images you carry are loaded, as a burden for the weary animal. The gods cower; they crouch together; they are not able to rescue the burden, but they themselves go into captivity. “Listen to me, house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been sustained from the womb, carried along since birth. “I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and rescue you.
Isaiah 46:1-4 ESV
Bel and Nebo are Babylonian gods, the idols of which used to be carried on the backs of beasts during their festivals. The Babylonians carried their gods as a burden yet they trusted them to save them.
But God is not meant to be borne as a burden. God is the bearer of his people. We don’t have a god who needs us to carry him around. Our God has carried us since our birth and will carry us to the very end of our lives. Even while the Israelites entertained thoughts of carrying these idols on their own backs, God, in perfect love, was himself still carrying them and sustaining their very lives.
It just so happened that another passage I read this morning was Romans 8. Nothing can separate us from the love of God because of our Lord Jesus. We don’t have to prove to ourselves that we love our God enough like the Babylonians did. Our God’s love holds onto us and began its grip before we showed any ability to love him back, let alone carry him around with us or craft images of him with our creative skill with which he blessed us in the first place.
These two passages read together this morning have allowed me to have so much hope in you, my God and Savior. It is you who may claim every bit of the effort to rescue my soul. The very nature of rescue has no action on the part of the one rescued.
It is not my will or faith that has carried you with me since my first belief. It is you who have carried me from my birth until now, and you will carry me beyond the grave. It is not my love for you that keeps me on track with your grace. It is your love for me that first extended the grace, and nothing in your creation could ever separate me from it. Thank you.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.