Do We Matter To God?

In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You. —Isaiah 49:8

When I consider Your heavens,” wrote the psalmist, “what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:3-4). The Old Testament circles around this question. Toiling in Egypt, the Hebrew slaves could hardly believe Moses’ assurances that God would concern Himself with them. The writer of Ecclesiastes phrased the question more cynically: Doesanything matter?

I was entertaining that same doubt myself when I received an invitation to address a conference on the theme: “I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isa. 49:16).

God made this stirring declaration to people suffering through a low point in their history as Isaiah prophesies that they would be taken away captive to Babylon. Hearing this, the people lamented, “The Lordhas forsaken me, and . . . forgotten me” (Isa. 49:14). To this lamentation God gave a series of promises—the Servant Songs (Isa. 42–53)—in which He sets the stage of hope for deliverance from hostile enemies. He foretells of the incarnation and sacrificial death of the Servant.

Do we matter to God? Christmas memorializes God’s answer: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (7:14).

Love brought Him down from the glory,
Love made Him come from the sky;
Love in His heart for the sinner
Led Him to suffer and die. —Anon.
The fact of Jesus’ coming is the final and unanswerable proof that God cares. —Barclay
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