“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles..." Isaiah 42.6
When so much around us is changing and the future looks more uncertain than enticing, we crave stability. Though they were not ready for it - yet - that is what God offered the Israelites through his prophet, Isaiah, and that is what he continues to offer us all through his word today. In Isaiah's day the promise was anticipatory: it looked forward to the coming of a saviour who would lead his people to freedom and secure justice for all, especially the vulnerable. In our own era the same promise is retrospective: to Jesus who fulfilled God's promise and will return to secure that legacy in the New Creation.
The extent to which we live in the light of the "steadfast love of the Lord" is a reflection of our faith and governs our own influence on the circles of acquaintance we inhabit. It has become clear that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's circle was as wide as any! That so many are testifying to the stability she maintained through her faith in God and devotion to duty are what renders her "great". We pray that her successor, King Charles, may avail himself similarly through his own circles, which are also impressively wide-ranging.
Such luminaries deserve our admiration - devotion even - to the extent that they remain faithful. For ultimately our faith is in God and he will allow no rival, as he confirms in the next but one verse to that which is quoted above: “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols." On the lips of any other creature that statement would be the height of arrogance but they are the utterance of Almighty God and we rely on his reigning supreme to maintain the order of creation, in which all creatures may flourish and abound.