Last night my mother and father traveled to be with us. Kea and I and my father have all had birthdays, so we sat after dinner and exchanged gifts. There had been thought and care taken by all in the selecton of these.
It is very good to be at one with your family (despite this; not any of us are perfect, and I see my father's strengths and weaknesses reflected in me and in my children). Israel was called to meet in such a way regularly.
But to do so they needed the protection of God, for the righteous will always have enemies, mockers and scoffers.
Isaiah is using a metaphor -- Jersualem is precious, like the jewels given to a beloved. So are we to God. We may not know ourselves ever fully, but God knows us.
God has redeemed us and he calls us precious. Let us live up to this calling.
11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones.
13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
14 In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 If anyone stirs up strife,
it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
shall fall because of you.
16 Behold, I have created the smith
who blows the fire of coals
and produces a weapon for its purpose.
I have also created the ravager to destroy;
17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”
A Song of Ascents.
121 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and for evermore.