God Will Gather You

By Mark D. Roberts

June 20, 2017

In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one.

Isaiah 27:12


A group of people gathered in the city with neon signs of a cross and heart lit and held up above the crowd.Isaiah 27 foresees the exile of Israel and, beyond that, the time in which God will gather his people once again. Though they have been scattered throughout the world, the Lord will bring them back to their land and to himself.

Isaiah 27:12 employs a harvesting image to portray this vision. The Hebrew literally speaks of God as threshing and gleaning the grain, using a process that allowed the farmer to distinguish the good grain from the useless chaff. The addition of the phrase “one by one” emphasizes God’s personal attention to each one of his children.

Most of us have not experienced literal exile in our lives. We live in the country of our birth and/or of our choosing. Yet the image of exile gives expression to our sense of not quite belonging to this world as it is. There is a sense in which this world is not our home. We yearn for the Lord and the fullness of his kingdom. We look ahead to the day when God will gather all of us into his new creation, a day when we will be truly at home with the Lord and truly united to his people.

Yet, in anticipation of that future gathering, God seeks us and brings us to himself “one by one.” God isn’t just in the business of “saving the world.” He seeks us out individually, inviting us to know him and to be part of his work of putting the world back together. Our Heavenly Father adopts each of us into his family, making us both sons or daughters and brothers or sisters. He loves us personally and cares about every aspect of our lives. Thus, as we await the fullness of the kingdom yet to come, we are comforted and encouraged by the fact that God has gathered us “one by one.”


Have you ever experienced some sort of literal exile? When? How did it feel?

Do you ever feel as if you don’t quite belong to this world? When? What difference does this make in your life?

Have you experienced God’s personal love for you, his “one by one” gathering of you to himself and his family? How has this experience affected your daily life? Your work? Your hopes for the future?


Gracious God, I’m struck by the image of you gathering your people “one by one.” Though you are the Creator and Sovereign of the universe, and though your plans encompass the whole earth, nevertheless you care about each individual person . . . including me.

Thank you, gracious God, for gathering me to yourself. Thank you for caring about me personally. Thank you for inviting me to have an intimate relationship with you. Thank you for the many times when you have sought me out when I was lost. Thank you for adopting me into your family.

Dear Lord, may I live this day as one who has been gathered by you. May I continue in fellowship with you throughout the day, and live each moment for your kingdom and glory. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentaryIntroduction: In Exile at Babylon U. (Daniel 1)

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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