2018 Advent Series – Day 12
To spend time in any part of Isaiah during the Christmas season is to eventually find ourselves meditating on verses that are sweet and familiar to our souls. Jesus is here. The hints of him whisper and shout from between passages that describe wrecked relationship and material despair.
In one passage, we hear that Israel, the faithful city “has become a whore” (1:21) and that God intends to turn his hand against them. But in the same breath, we see what his intentions are for turning his hand against them: “I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city” (1:25-26). Later, we read the famous passage that describes peace using metal object lessons: “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (2:4).
And then we are back in the land of misery, as we hear that the haughty daughters of Zion will have all their finery removed: “Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty” (3:24). But immediately afterwards we are given a description of the branch of the Lord, “beautiful and glorious,” (4:2) and we read of “when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem” (4:4).
Down, up, down up. Warning, hope, warning, hope. Israel, Jesus, Israel, Jesus.
Eventually, we land somewhere like Chapter 9. Pause, pause a good long while, in this passage:
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Is it your zeal that has done this? As we have the assurance of witnesses that you did, in fact, send the child, that the great light was seen and walked among us… can we accept your assurance by the word of your prophet that Jesus continues to do more and will do more still? Can we wait for the day when it’s evident on this earth, when the increase of his government and of peace has no end? We are waiting. We look for the throne of David to be established eternally, as it has begun already, and as it is going to be at the end of the age. We are waiting on the strength of your promise for the next coming of the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
[Note from Tilly: Finding myself pregnant at Christmas for the third time, I’ve committed to do a short advent devotional each weekday of December . They will all be labeled by date and can be found together under the “Advent” subject category.]