December 7th Advent Devotion
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the Word of our God endures forever.”
You who bring good tidings to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout;
lift it up, do not be afraid;
Say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young.
— Isaiah 40:1-11
Today, like Yesterday and like Tomorrow, we take pause and consider God’s Holy Word. Specifically, here today, as we consider the heart of Isaiah (the opening words of chapter 40) let us find the heart of God.
Here in the heart of Isaiah, we hold a prayer book for God’s people exiled to a foreign land because of their sins and those of their ancestors. To them God speaks through Isaiah words of tender loving grace that the penalty for their sins has been doubly paid. “Comfort, comfort my people…speak tenderly…her hard service has been completed…”
Here in the heart of Isaiah, we hold a prayer book for God’s people suppressed by a foreign power. To them God speaks through Isaiah by speaking through John the Baptist, of glorious hope in the One by whom the sin penalty would be paid, twice over. “Prepare the way for the Lord…the glory of the Lord will be revealed…everyone together will see it…”
Here in the heart of Isaiah, we hold a prayer book for the One who is the Heart of God; the One who is "the Way and the Truth and the Life"; the One who is God’s Word Incarnate in Christ; the One who is Jesus—the same Yesterday and Today and Tomorrow. “People are like grass…their glory is like the flowers…the grass withers and the flowers fail, but the Word of our God stands forever!”
Here in the heart of Isaiah we hold a prayer book for all of God’s people who search for and find liberation in the Truth, for “the Truth shall set you free!” For God’s Word in Isaiah tells us to “Go up on a high mountain…Bring good tidings…Lift up your voice with a shout…'Here is your God!'”
In all our hearts let us treasure God's Word that we find in the heart of Isaiah; let us glorify our God with joyous praise to celebrate the birth of the Baby King, the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd: “Go! Tell It on the Mountain!” “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice!” “Joy to the World!”
Prayer: O Lord, our God…We thank You for your tender-loving grace that You bless your people everywhere. We thank You for your Holy Word delivered through the prophets, including Isaiah and John. We thank You for your Word Incarnate in Christ, delivered through your humble servant child of grace, Mary. We thank You for your message of grace, hope, and joy, that You deliver through us, disciples of Jesus, to all of your people, here, there, and everywhere, in need of your liberation in Christ.
Forever You are ours.
Forever we are Yours.
Forever and Ever and Ever.
Amen and Amen.
By: Rev. James Roth