I’m awake before dawn with no intention to leave the house. After all, this is the Narnia under the rule of the White Witch – “always winter but never Christmas” – which is as good a description of 2020 as I’ve heard.
But the purity of the landscape beckons, as does the chance to see the beauty before snowplows and snowblowers do their damage.
So, I suit up. And go out. Into the dark and the cold.
For a week now, I’ve been meditating on the next, short snippet of Isaiah 52:
11 Depart, depart, go out from there!
Touch no unclean thing!
Come out from it and be pure,
you who carry the articles of the Lord’s house.
12 But you will not leave in haste
or go in flight;
for the Lord will go before you,
the God of Israel will be your rear guard. (vs. 11-12)
Let’s recap. God’s people had the cup of God’s wrath removed, replaced by priestly garments, signifying a new, close relationship with him. The long-awaited messenger has brought the good news of peace and salvation. God reigns! He has redeemed them!
“Now,” says the Lord, “Get out!”
The immediate link here is to the Exodus. But this connection of the new life to departure is found throughout Scripture. For instance, think of all the traveling surrounding the Nativity. Mary and Joseph trek to Bethlehem. The Magi come from afar. The shepherds, from nearby. Later, the family flees to Egypt, then returns.
Consider Jesus’s invitation for his disciples to leave their nets and follow him. And his departing commission: “Go and make disciples…” (Mt. 8:28). The book of Acts is filled with people departing. To know Christ is to commit to movement. Walking. Journeying. Getting out and following.
So, I’m added my hat to my Isaiah-prompted nativity scene. It reminds me that Jesus left the comfort of his throne to be born as the Savior.
And it prompts me to get going. Jesus is not content to hang with me where I’m comfortable. Sometimes, it’s a literal leaving. This morning’s walk is filled with beauty that draws me into worship. I never would have found this while safe at home.
At other times, getting out means leaving behind bad habits, self-focus, temptations. In these days of being stuck in the house, these metaphoric departures become all the more important.
Being a Christian requires us to keep moving.
Note, though, that verse 12 above makes it clear that God goes with us. We don’t have to leave hastily, in fear of pursuit. The LORD goes before us and is our rear guard.
Ultimately, that’s why we get out.
God is waiting for us on the road.
Father, by your Spirit, show us what we need to go out from. Whether it’s a physical place or a sin that entangles, strengthen our resolve to leave it behind. We want to move on with you.
Reader: What journey do you need to take? Tell me about it.