Read the scripture passage through once and then sit silently for one minute. Read the passage a second time and then reflect on the word or phrase that spoke to you.
Devotion: I read a story once about an author who interviewed a shepherd. They were talking about how incredibly stupid a sheep can be and yet the shepherd had a name for every sheep. He could say the name of one of them and only that sheep would respond to his call. The other interesting fact was that the sheep’s name could be spoken by a different voice but the sheep would not respond. I am reminded of the New Testament saying “I will call my sheep by name and they will know my voice.” God is often portrayed as a shepherd. Maybe that is because it is a symbol or character type that everyone no matter what century could understand and relate to. People resonated with the constant care a shepherd gave to his folk. The fact that he knew all of his sheep by name and that they knew the voice of their shepherd. And for some inexplicable reason, the sheep felt safe with their shepherd. Isaiah writes a word picture of God carrying us in loving arms; tending to our needs like a shepherd; and that in grateful response we pronounce God’s work from the high places as well as the familiar places we go. Will you praise your loving protector today?
Prayer: God who is my shepherd. I am humbled by the fact that you are there with me on the mountain tops as well as in the darkest valleys of life. During this season of preparation I ask that you prepare my heart to respond each time you call my name. That I will hear your voice and come running to you for safety as well as opportunity. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.