Lord God, heavenly Father, quicken us by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Isaiah 44, 1-5. Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
This is another of those glorious promises which would make us rich and happy, did we but believe them. The Lord here speaks to the poor and thirsty. You are his “Israel,” his “chosen servant,” born of his Spirit, and fashioned to be his servant. It was God himself, and none other, who excited hunger and thirst in your soul, kindled the spark of faith, and created a new life in you. Your longing after God and your love for his children are not of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit of God. You feel parched, and you thirst after the water of life. Is this true of the world? No; your knowledge of sin, your longing after God, and your fervent desire to have a heart full of charity, are the work of the Holy Spirit in you. It is the Holy Spirit who moves your heart to breathe the prayer: “Come, rain from on high, and refresh the earth, that the work of Jesus may bring forth abundant fruit. Slake the thirst of our parched souls with the water of life proceeding out of the throne of God.” And the Lord makes answer: “Hear, my beloved, whom I have elected; my own, whom I have chosen for myself; I, who have made thee and will help thee, I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” To whom is this spoken, if not to the wretched, who thirst after the water of life from on high? Why is it that you read this? Or, why has the Lord given you this promise? Of a truth, it is to you that he speaks; and you should pay attention. He has planted you; and he will care for his tender shoots, and water them, that they may live and thrive. They shall stand as willows by the water courses, and bear witness that the Lord is faithful. He says this, in order that you may believe; and by this means he accomplishes his purpose. The Spirit comes through his word; and faith in the heart is the secret of life. Hear, then, O Jacob; and make answer: “It be to me according to thy word!” When he says, that he has created you, and formed you to be his child, and that he will help you; then you shall say: “I am the Lord’s,” and subscribe with your hand unto the Lord, and surname yourself by the name of Israel. — Pentecost is near; and that which the Lord has promised shall come to pass. Expect it with confidence; but do not anxiously inquire, whether or not you are to feel the wondrous coming of the Spirit. Wait upon the Lord; he comes and kindles faith in the heart, working in secret, but with marvellous power; but the sound of the Spirit may be heard, and the seed is scattered far and wide. Are not the promises of the Lord more to be trusted than our sensations or our sight? And is not our unbelief our great unhappiness ? Bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ! The Lord has spoken, and he shall do it; he shall make his church to blossom, — through times of heavy trouble and much tribulation. Fear not, thou worm Jacob; for thou art the Lord’s, and he shall bless thee.
Our God, our faithful and merciful God; give us grace to believe thy word, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Holy Ghost, with light divine,
Shine upon this heart of mine!
Chase the shades of night away,
Turn the darkness into day.
Let me see my Savior’s face,
Let me all his beauties trace;
Show those glorious truths to me.
Which are only known to thee.