Adekunle Adewola

God Remembers Us

It is impossible for God to forget us—we are His children and are inscribed upon His hands.

Isaiah 49:13-18

Does it ever seem as if God has forgotten about you? Do you ever feel overlooked, abandoned, or unimportant? In seasons of suffering, it’s easy to think He doesn’t see or care about what we’re going through. With Jerusalem destroyed and most of its inhabitants sent into Babylonian captivity, the people of Israel were also tempted to think God had forgotten and abandoned them.

Today’s passage, however, directly challenges the assumption that pain and hardship are indications of His absence. After God acknowledges that He knows all about Israel’s fear of abandonment, He counters by asserting His unconditional love. He is as near, attentive, and giving as a mother with her nursing baby, and it is impossible for Him to forget us. To make this point clear to the apprehensive, weary Israelites, God gave reassurance that He had inscribed them upon the palms of His hands (49:16). Does that image sound familiar?

Centuries later, Jesus Christ hung on a cross with nails driven into His hands—proving that God’s words were true and that we are worth more to Him than we could ever imagine. We are God’s unforgettable, beloved children. How would it change our daily lives and our relationship with our heavenly Father if we lived safe in the knowledge that we are always on His mind?

God Hovers Over Us

The security and love we need can always be found in our heavenly Father’s presence.

Isaiah 31:1-5

Can you recall a time when you witnessed a parent protecting a child from danger? That fierce and tender strength is wondrous to behold. Just as a watchful mom and dad are quick to defend and comfort their kids, so too is our Father swift to shelter and tend His people. Throughout Scripture, we find multiple instances where God’s love for His children is likened to a bird hovering over its nest or a mother comforting her child.

Today’s passage is one of them. Through the prophet Isaiah, God describes a coming time when the nation of Israel will regret looking to any nation or ruler besides the Lord for protection. Yet despite their misplaced trust, God promises to defeat Israel’s enemies and hover over Jerusalem, shielding and rescuing her from destruction. Centuries later, Jesus articulated a similar longing to gather the children of Jerusalem “the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37).

God was not intimidated by the enemies that surrounded Israel, and He is in no way threatened by the forces, people, and problems that terrify us today. We can be confident that our God is intimately near to us in times of danger. Because of His strong and tender love, we have nothing to fear.

Caring for One Another

Ask God to show you how to minister to the people He’s brought into your life.

John 19:25-30

The last mother named in Matthew’s messianic lineage is “Mary, by whom Jesus was born” (Matthew 1:16). Mary watched her Son’s ministry, no doubt treasuring all He said and did (Luke 2:51). She likely felt a range of emotions—from motherly pride to worry and fear—despite the fact that she understood He was “about [His] Father’s business” (Luke 2:49 KJV). Then, when Jesus was on the cross, she undoubtedly felt anguish watching Him suffer but also heard Him lovingly entrust her to John’s care (John 19:26).

Even though she had long anticipated a sword through her soul (Luke 2:35), that knowledge didn’t lessen her pain. But she didn’t endure it alone. She was surrounded by other believers in the days before and after Jesus’ passion. Following His ascension, she waited with them for the Comforter (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1) and likely lived for years as a member of John’s household and part of the growing Christian community—worshipping, praying, and serving with those Jesus had come to save. And in that early church environment, she would also have been served by them.

Do you know of friends or acquaintances who are dealing with adversity? How can you show them the love of Christ? Ask the Lord to reveal ways to care for the people He has brought into your life.

Comforting Those Who Grieve

Those who mourn are all around us; may we offer them the compassion of our Savior.

2 Samuel 11:26-27

Like Tamar and Rahab, the fourth woman in Matthew’s genealogy has a tarnished reputation (Matthew 1:6)—Bathsheba is labeled by some as a temptress. In reality, however, she was a victim. Desired by King David, she was brought to him and soon found herself pregnant and in danger of death for adultery. David tried to cover up his sin by manipulating Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. When that didn’t work, David had him killed at the front.

Suddenly, Bathsheba was a grieving widow. “She mourned for her husband,” according to 2 Samuel 11:26. Then David made her his wife. When she delivered a son, her joy was short-lived. The child became sick and died, as the prophet Nathan had prophesied (2 Samuel 12:14). Now she was grieving two great losses: a husband and a child.

When it comes to our attention that a parent is grieving, we may feel unsure of the best way to reach out. But we have Jesus as a model of how to offer care. Matthew saw his Master heal the multitudes and remembered the words of Isaiah: “A bent reed He will not break off, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (Matthew 12:20). May we receive such people with gentleness and be a safe place that promotes their healing.

Hope for the Stranger

God calls us to welcome and include those who are new or unknown in our communities.

Ruth 1:6-14

When Naomi returned to Bethlehem after the death of her husband and sons, she brought along her widowed Moabite daughter-in-law. Ruth—the third woman mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy—was a stranger, but she chose to follow the customs of Naomi’s land. Because they were poor, Ruth gleaned barley from the edges of the fields, God’s provision in Israel “for the needy and for the stranger” (Leviticus 19:10; Leviticus 23:22). Her faithfulness impressed the community and especially Boaz, the owner of the field.

Ruth lived on the margins, literally and figuratively. But settling in Bethlehem eventually led to a home and family of her own. Boaz, by marrying her, helped to restore the inheritance and prospects of a family devastated by loss. Ruth was welcomed and cared for by her adopted community, and she ultimately bore a child whom the neighborhood named Obed (Ruth 4:13-17).

People like Ruth live in our communities today. You can find them in the grocery store and dentist’s office as well as the dog park, senior center, and library. God calls us to welcome and provide for all the “strangers” among us, just as He welcomed us when we were outsiders. He made us members of His household and grafted us into the kingdom (Ephesians 2:19). How can we extend that same love and generosity to those around us?

Reframing Our Understanding

In our times of uncertainty, God knows what will help us cope—and we can trust Him to provide it.

Joshua 2:8-13; Joshua 6:25

When two Israelite spies arrived in Jericho, they received an unexpected welcome from the second woman in Jesus’ genealogy. The Scriptures do not mince words: Rahab is described as a prostitute, making her another surprising addition to the messianic lineage recorded by Matthew.

Rahab’s home was an ideal place for gathering information and lying low, which is exactly what the spies did. When the king of Jericho learned about them, he demanded that Rahab hand them over. But she didn’t.

Facing the likelihood of a siege and battle, Rahab thought of her family and also expressed belief in the God of Israel. “He is God in heaven above,” she said, “and on earth below” (Josh. 2:11). In return for her aid, she asked the spies to protect her when Israel triumphed over Jericho. And the city’s walls did fall, but Rahab’s household was spared. She later made a home in Israel (6:25), eventually marrying Salmon and bearing a son, Boaz (Matthew 1:5).

Rahab is remembered for her readiness to trust God and let Him reframe her understanding of enemies. What about us? Are we inclined to let the Lord adjust our perspective so we understand things the way He does? And are we, like Rahab, willing to entrust our life and family to Him?

God Cares About the Vulnerable

God considers justice and compassion important for those who need help—and we should as well.

Matthew 1:1-17

Matthew mentions only five women in Jesus’ genealogy. That alone makes them remarkable, but their stories are more than mere curiosities. They reorient how we see and value the women among us.

Tamar was the mother of Judah’s sons Perez and Zerah. But Judah wasn’t Tamar’s husband; his son Er was. Er, however, was “evil in the sight of the Lord,” so his life was taken from him (Genesis 38:7). Tamar then married Er’s brother Onan, who also displeased God and died. Though Hebrew custom (and, later, the law) protected a widow by requiring a relative of the deceased to marry her, Judah denied Tamar because he was afraid to lose another son (Genesis 38:11). So she took matters into her own hands.

Justice for widows is important in God’s eyes. The psalmist, in fact, calls Him “a father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows” (Psalm 68:5). And God’s ultimate judgment of Tamar is in her favor. She gave birth to Perez and Zerah—the twins Judah fathered and direct-line ancestors of Christ.

Psalm 68 also says God “makes a home for the lonely” (Psalm 68:6). We should participate in caring for those who are grieving or vulnerable. This is confirmed in James’ epistle when he calls the care of widows “pure religion” (James 1:27). So let us make our churches and homes welcoming places for those who need help.

The Impact of Prayer

Our words to the Lord matter because He listens—and He responds with wisdom, love, and power.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

As we saw yesterday, prayer is how we develop a close relationship with God. But it’s common for believers to have questions about its power and effectiveness. For example, many people ask:

  • Will God’s plans fail if I don’t pray? God isn’t subservient to us or dependent upon our prayers. The time we invest in speaking with Him includes us in the work that He’s doing in our lives and in the world, but He can carry on without our involvement.
  • Does my prayer (or lack thereof) impact God’s work? Scripture indicates the answer to this question is both yes and no. There are times when God’s purpose is set. He is in control and has determined the best course. In the Old Testament, the Lord often prophesied what He would do and then brought those events to pass. In other cases, the principle that applies is, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). There are some good things that He holds back until we put out prayerful hands to receive them. But because God is a loving Father, He also pours out blessings that we wouldn’t even think to request.

For us as believers, prayer has tremendous impact, especially on our own faith and life. Understand what an awesome privilege it is to kneel before the Father and know He listens and will respond. God loves to be good to His children and answer their prayers.

Why Believers Pray

Talking with our heavenly Father is how we understand His heart and participate in His work on earth.

Psalms 103:19-22

Have you ever wondered, If God is in control, why does He expect us to pray? The Lord wants to involve us in the work He is doing in the world, and prayer brings us into cooperation with what He plans to accomplish.

In John 17:11, Jesus asked God to protect the disciples by the power of His name. Did He think they might lose their salvation or permanently drift from their commitment? Absolutely not. Jesus was God in human flesh. He knew exactly what was going to happen—that those men would fulfill their mission and spread the gospel. Jesus was taking part in God’s plan for His followers by interceding for them (Romans 8:34).

The Lord certainly can build His kingdom without us. But when the God of love and His beloved share an interest, the relationship develops depth and intimacy. Praying and working alongside our Lord grows our faith and strengthens our trust in His power.

Talking with almighty God is a privilege. He loves you and invites you into relationship with Him. Prayer is how that connection gets nurtured. Our Father calls us to communicate with Him so He can draw us close to His heart and involve us in building the kingdom.

Answering the Call

As we pursue God’s will, He will provide the wisdom and strength needed to face any opposition.

Nehemiah 6:9-14

When we submit to God and allow Him to rebuild our broken places, we can expect opposition. Nehemiah’s efforts to restore Jerusalem were threatened by Sanballat and others. In a similar way, we have an enemy who opposes the work God is doing in our life—an antagonist who does everything possible to discourage and distract us. When that happens, we can echo Nehemiah’s prayer: “Now, God, strengthen my hands” (Neh. 6:9).

Today’s passage tells of a hindrance involving Shemaiah—an Israelite who advised Nehemiah to preserve his life by hiding from his enemies (v. 10). This incident suggests that even people from whom we seek wisdom might at times obey the voice of fear and ignore the bigger picture. Once Nehemiah refused to listen to the anxiety-driven advice, his eyes were opened. Then he saw Shemaiah for who he was: a false friend hired by Sanballat.

When answering the call to partner with God in the work of renewal, we have a choice: Give in to distress, or heed the voice that promises, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). The Lord wants us to say “no” to fear. Although we may be tempted to despair at the brokenness around and within us, we can cling to God’s promise of restoration and entrust our life to the One who makes all things new.