Love and the removal of shame

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Day 4 – Love and the removal of shame

How many relationships have you had in your life that made you feel loved? Not butterflies-in-your-stomach loved, but loved in a way that spoke safety into your life. Loved in a way that spoke care and concern. In this love, you could be completely yourself, secure that even when you messed up, you would be forgiven…and loved.

These relationships can be quite rare. Many of us have experienced this in two particular places – with our parents and with our husbands. If you aren’t married, it’s something you might dream about when imagining your future spouse – care, safety, acceptance. Very occasionally we find it in a true and wonderful friendship. This love is all the more special because it is rare.

In Isaiah 54, God uses the language of relationships that generally make us feel safest in this life, so that we can begin to wrap our heads around the depth of His love for us. Father, husband, wife. God will always love us greater and stronger and deeper and more unchanging than our parents or our spouse or our friends can. They are human and sinful. God is not. He is perfect. He is holy. His very name is Love, according to 1 John 4:8.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

We need this kind of love in our life. If you have never had, or have struggled to have, that safe kind of love, today’s study is hopefully all the more useful for you. Let’s read Isaiah 54:4-8.

As you read, notice the relationships God proclaims over his people. Look for those descriptor words, and titles for God, that speak of love and acceptance and safety. Jot them in your notes.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer.

A little backstory…

Israel, God’s chosen people, had some issues. They had deserted their “marriage”, or covenant, to the Triune God who loved them. They chased after other gods. These gods were as fake as a Coach bag sold on a street in Queens. Ironically, these gods were about as unsafe as you could get. They were useless, yes, but they were also unsafe. They led the Israelites to adultery, to orgies, violence, and child sacrifice. Unsafe, sisters. And in the end, it led only to shame. They were taken captive by the Babylonian empire, led into a new land, stripped ultimately of everything that spoke safety into their lives- their homes, families, land, and their livelihoods, even while the Lord allowed them to escape with their lives.

Shame. It sits on our shoulders and rests heavy on our hearts. It eats at our stomach as a little parasite we call anxiety. We have been the deserter. We have walked away from the God who loves us for false security in any number of things. We have been cast off by the very things we chased after (v.6). And God let us. Go back to verse 7. What does God say?

For a brief moment I deserted you…”

Essentially – I let you go your own way, because you were so determined to.

Think of the safety in a relationship that doesn’t hold you hostage, that doesn’t say “You must walk this way, or else…”

God loves us enough, to let us walk down a deserted path. And what is the promise?

…but with great compassion I will gather you.”

Beloved, He’s going to gather us up. During another week of study we’ll talk about how He gathers His people together, but this week, think about the act of Love from a God who gathers all of our individual broken pieces and puts them together again. A God who picks our shame-filled selves up off the floor and says,
Beloved, lift that pretty head –

Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced…” (v.4)

with everlasting love I will have compassion on you…” (v. 8)

I am your Redeemer.

This is all possible because that Redeemer offered His life for ours. Paul tells us the full story of Jesus offering His body to be “broken” on the cross for us, in 1 Corinthians 11:23-24,

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

His body, given for us, putting together our pieces, redeeming us, all of us, every part of us, head to toe and back again.

Whatever in your life you have done, where ever you have been, rest in the safe love of our God, who calls us back to Him.

 

Exploration:

Which word or phrase from our passage speaks the truth of God’s safe love into your life? What does this word say to you about the character of God?

compassion

everlasting love

not ashamed

not confounded

not disgraced

Maker

not angry

covenant of peace

Or chose one of your own!

18 thoughts on “Love and the removal of shame”

  1. Restored. Simply because no matter what, our Redeemer has chosen to put us back together, has chosen to keep us, and will always be the one we can come to for healing and safe refuge.
    {Think of the safety in a relationship that doesn’t hold you hostage, that doesn’t say “You must walk this way, or else…”} How freeing, how loving to be accepted as we are and to want to love and be loved, inherently wrapped in the security of this relationship, choosing to live for him comes more naturally. Not easily all the time, but wanting to in the balance of the relationship.

  2. “Not angry” tells me that I don’t have to tiptoe around in constant fear of making God angry & driving Him away. He forgives me completely in Jesus. I can relax in His love, which is not touchy.

  3. Maker. A gentle reminder that I am who He made, warts and all. Fallen, true, but made by powerful hands and chiseled into “me” with each experience and circumstance He walks me through.

  4. Amazing thing about our God is that when we take those short jaunts away from His will for us, He lets us go but continues to love, protect,and stay with us. How great is our God!

  5. Not ashamed…he will not shame me and he is not ashamed of me. He loves me unconditionally and I have freedom to be who I am without fear of condemnation. I can give that gift of acceptance to myself because he accepts me as I am. As Matt Harrison said at NYG ” It is good to be sinner because if I weren’t I wouldn’t need Jesus.” This statement was very freeing to me! I NEED JESUS!

  6. 4 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
    be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
    for you will forget the shame of your youth,
    and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

    I love this one. Satan’s favorite game with me is to hold out my old sins, the stupid things I’ve done in my past and say “See! Did you forget these, Tamara? You’re awful – you don’t deserve this grace.”

    It took me a long time – really until after I became a Lutheran, to follow Luther’s example and tell Satan to take his ugly accusations to Christ. Nothing to me feels safer than knowing that I no longer have to feel ashamed of my folly. As far as the East is from the West, so far has he taken our sins from us!

    1. That reminds me of the line in “God’s Own Child I Gladly Say It” – Satan keep your accusations, I am not so soon enticed! (Or close to that!)

  7. I really resonate with the imagery in God telling me he will have compassion and gather me. It reminds me of my toddler when he gets hurts or scared or needs forgiveness and compassion after he gets in trouble. He stretches out his arms, reaches up, and asks that I hold him. I, too, yearn to be gathered up and comforted. And He does this for me! Praise the Lord!

  8. Hi dear one,
    Not confounded- those are my words. I sit here and think that all of it is good, all of what you wrote about resonates in my life.
    To Not be confounded, does speak into what I desire…
    “but loved in a way that spoke safety into your life. Loved in a way that spoke care and concern. In this love, you could be completely yourself, secure that even when you messed up, you would be forgiven, loved, cared, have safety, acceptance..(supported& encouraged).
    The section sends us into what holy relationship is and can be in a ‘godly family’ not only in heaven but presently! I thank God for his blessings in my life! My Father’s family is IN my life, loving me,honoring, encouraging, disciplining and teaching me with the support I do need! I love how much he loves me and is always ready to smoother me with kisses that say, “hush now, the lesson is over, I was always near”💓
    Father bless you and send you forward, dear Heidi.

  9. Not be counfounded, not be disgraced, forget the shame of your youth, remember no more. Like the Israelites we get another chance. No shame in returning home to the Lord. Not disgraced because we screwed up. We will forget we were in exile.

    The Lord calls us, with great compassion gathers us, with everlasting love will have great compassion (everlasting!!) He will redeem us. The Lord your redeemer.

    No matter how far away we get The Lord will call us, gather us, surround us with everlasting love and have great compassion on us. We cant do that for ourselves. The Lord is our redeemer.

  10. Maker – This word makes me smile. He made me. I am His. I am special, not an accident or mistake. I know this, but it is so good to be reminded. Yay! So much of the world does not know this, and they need to know! They are of value, not because of what they do or don’t or because of what they look like, but because God made them! And God sent His Son to save them! Redeemer!

  11. Sorry, I’m a few days late. We traveled over the weekend and I just never had time to look through the devos and respond.

    I resonate with the phrase “covenant of peace”. My childhood was not very peaceful so it’s something I’ve been extremely thankful for in my marriage and in the raising of our children. We’ve lived peaceful lives most of the time. That promise of peace from God gives me security and makes me feel safe. Chaos makes me feel unsafe. What’s amazing is that since I have been blessed with that peace both by God’s promise and in my adult family life I’ve been able to navigate some outwardly insanely chaotic situations without tremendous fear. We saw some pretty crazy stuff when the political situation both in Lome and in Abidjan was falling apart. I always had an inner assurance that God was with me. He gave me a peaceful soul. I am very thankful for that!

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