God says, "Come Out!"

Thus says the Lord:I have answered yousaying to the prisoners, “Come out.” – Isaiah 49:8-9

Here’s the context: Israel was in exile. God’s people were literal prisoners. Finally, the Lord said, “Come out.”

How many of you feel like prisoners at this present time?! There are more and more shutdowns – schools, restaurants, Mecklenberg County. “Shelter at home” is the call. Yes, how many of you feel like prisoners?

It’s a feeling rather than a factual reality, of course. But feelings matter! Sure, our version of “imprisonment” is not equivalent to seven years in the state penitentiary or seventy years held captive as Exiles in Babylon, but these stay at home orders are new to all of us. Like the line from Through the Looking Glass, things are getting “curiouser and curiouser.”

How many of you are feeling kind of like poor Alice along her Adventures in Wonderland? We could almost recite with her, “I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” This March came in like a lamb, but it’s going to definitely go out like a roaring lion. How many of you are just waiting for God to cry, “Come out” … or “Wake up! It was only a dream.”

There are many reasons we study history – not the least of which is that if we don’t learn from history, we’re likely doomed to repeat it. But another reason we study history, especially biblical history, is that so many of the things we encounter are so stunningly new to us right now that they’re shocking and unsettling. But trials are absolutely not new to God’s people.

  • There was slavery in Egypt, but then came the Exodus and the bounty of the Promised Land.
  • There was Haman’s plot to kill the Jews, but then came Esther “for such a time as this.”
  • There was an army of 135,000 Midianites, but then came Gideon with his band of 300 men.
  • There was a giant named Goliath, but then came a boy with five smooth stones.
  • There was the agony of the cross, but then there was the glory of Easter.
  • There was Exile in Babylon, but then God finally cried, “Come out.”

I like the historical perspective of Psalm 30:5, “For his anger is for a moment, but his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Friends, we’ve fallen down an odd little rabbit hole. This is a strange new world. But though the coronavirus may linger for what may seem like a darkened night, joy will definitely come again for God’s people in the morning!

Do you believe it? Do you trust that our God is the God who inevitably and victoriously cries, “Come out!” Israel heard it from the midst of Egypt. Lazarus heard it from the tomb. It’s the trumpet call of the Rapture. It’s the promise at the coming of the Messiah; it’s the glorious assurance that the captives will go free. And it’s victory in the cross: “Child come out of your bondage to sin.” “Come out” is the promise of doubt turning into faith, worry into peace, and darkness into light. “Come out” is the way our God operates.

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who’s senior high school class,

chose as our class song, Diana Ross’s

“I’m Coming Out!” (but mainly because

the ballot had a misprint, and many

liked it’s new title, “I’m CoNing Out”)

Advice: While quarantined,

Don’t Cone Out before we Come Out!

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