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Hephzibah

When God gave these words to Isaiah, it was in the context of Jerusalem being destroyed and the people sent into exile. It would be a really hard time. They would feel abandoned; but God’s heart for them wouldn’t change and the time would come when they would know that He delighted in them just like a bridegroom with his bride.

How does a bridegroom rejoice over his bride? He delights to be with her; he takes infinite pride in her; he loves to tell her how wonderful she is and how beautiful; he won’t hear a word spoken against her; he revels in every moment of intimacy with her; he so enjoys doing things with her; every minute spent with her is sheer pleasure, and every moment away from her only increases his longing to be back with her.

I believe God is saying all of that to you and to me: “I love being with you; I’m so proud of you. I think you are wonderful. You are beautiful. I hate it when anyone upsets you. The closer I can get to you the more I love it. It’s so amazing to do things with you. Every moment with you is so precious to me, and, if ever you keep Me at a distance, I just can’t wait to get back to you”.

Maybe you have felt abandoned by Him – things have not gone well for you and He’s seemed very distant. But, even so, you’ve kept hoping for better days. He sees your faithfulness and your tears. You may have wondered whether you will ever recapture the vibrancy, joy and power that His Spirit gives; you’ve even wondered whether He has completely abandoned you. His word to you is, “I have not”.

I’m writing this in autumn. Winter will soon be here with its long dark nights. There are times that I call ‘a winter of the soul’. Nothing much happening. Everything rather dark and gloomy – stormy even. But I’ve come to understand that even these times have their place in the Bridegroom’s perfect plan. How am I going to respond to these ‘wintry’ days? Will His apparent absence make my heart grow fonder? Will it increase my spiritual hunger for His presence?

Recently I read this in Psalm 62: ‘My soul, wait in silence for God alone’ (verse 5). In Isaiah’s day, Israel had to wait; and God proved faithful. There are times when the Bridegroom seems far off. But He’ll use the waiting time to refine us and make us even more ready for the day when He comes to take us home. He loves us and rejoices over us far too much to allow the ‘winter’ to be wasted.

Prayer: Dear God, today I want to tell You that I do trust You. Please forgive me when I have lost trust and even got angry with You when You’ve seemed a long way away. Help me to trust Your promises and Your faithfulness, whatever I’m feeling. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"You will no longer be spoken of as ‘Azuvah [Abandoned] … rather you will be called Hephzibah [My-Delight-Is-In-Her]’. As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you."
Isaiah 62:4-5, Complete Jewish Bible

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Today's Writer

Richard Griffiths When Richard retired from full-time Anglican ministry in Chichester in 2009, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Northumberland. He joined the ministry team at Ellel Grange in 2011, where he and Sue regularly ministered at healing retreats. They are now helping on the "Explore" team. They greatly enjoy walking their Golden Retriever dog in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and along the coast. Richard loves seeing God bringing people into a strong personal relationship with Him as their Father and the healing that comes with it.

Richard Griffiths


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