Day 10 – December 8, 2020
Note: if you’d like to start with the Introduction to the whole series, please start here.
“But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush, and Seba in your stead.”Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV
When I was young one of the chores that was mine, was to occasionally load up the wagon with all the pop bottles in the garage and take them to the store to cash them in. Let me start at the beginning. For those who don’t know, before soda came in cans, it came in bottles, glass bottles. Those bottles came in six and eight packs. And when we bought the soda, we paid a deposit price on the bottle, usually of about 10 cents per bottle. A wagon full of bottles could bring about $7 to $10. I never made a connection, but that dime was called the redemption value. It was the price the store would pay to get the bottle returned to them. The store was the redeemer. And they purchased the bottle to get it out of my possession. Now, there was no sacrifice, in that transaction because I had already given them the money they were now giving back to me.
The Scriptures paint a much more meaningful picture of redemption. It’s not a simple transaction, of this for that. It doesn’t deal with inanimate objects, but humans who were created in the image of God. Redemption, in the Scriptures, has to do with the horrific practice of slavery. And redemption is what one does to get someone out of slavery and makes them free again.
In the Old Testament, God sets the stage for redemption when he delivered Israel from Egypt. And we see there are some key elements that make God’s redeeming activity special. First, someone is trapped and incapable of gaining their own freedom. Second, initiative is taken, motivated by love. Third, there’s a price to be paid. And fourth, freedom is secured. It’s a relational activity and commitment. That’s why Isaiah wrote, “I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
The whole activity is based on God’s love and a desire for a relationship with those he created in his image. That’s you and me. The Advent season fits perfectly with the theme of redemption. Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost. He came to purchase freedom for all, not just Israel. He is a redeemer. He is our Redeemer. His record in history shows us that.
I am redeemed You set me free. So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and wipe away ev’ry stain. Now (‘Cause) I’m not who I used to be (I am redeemed) ~“Redeemed” Benji Cowart and Michael Weaver
Lord, I praise you as my Redeemer. You have shown your sacrificial love in coming as a man, living, dying, rising again, and now reigning on high. In this Christmas season, may we remember the initiative you took, to free us from the power of sin and death.
Fill me with your Spirit, I pray, as a redeemed one. Lead me to thankfulness, worship, and praise. Empower me to live in the freedom you’ve secured for me. And may I do so for your glory and honor.
Help me to love, the way you love. Help me give the gift of sacrifice to those in need around me, so they might taste the joys of the freedom you give.
In your name I pray, Lord Jesus my Savior.