Wednesday in the Third Week of Advent

(If this day occurs after December 16, please refer to that date in the

list of devotions.)

Isaiah 32:1-20

The Promise of the Messianic Kingdom

These devotions are supposed to be about the season of Advent.  Unfortunately, when writing on these passages, I tend to get lost in the trees and forget the forest.  That’s why this passage is so important; it brings us back to what Advent is all about.  I offer my apologies if I chased a few rabbits here recently.

“Behold a king will reign in righteousness.”  This is what Advent is all about: the patient waiting for the coming king, the king before whom “every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess” (Philippians 2:10).  He came the first time in humility; he comes again in glorious triumph.  He comes to reign and to rule.  But what’s more, he promises a kingdom of righteousness, with beautiful metaphors such as “a hiding place from the wind,” “a shelter from the storm,” “streams of water in a dry place,” “shade of a great rock in a weary land.”  Moreover, eyes shall see and ears will hear; that is, no more of the willful blindness and deafness of man because of the hardness of his wicked heart.  In that kingdom, the righteous shall see and hear and rejoice in the reign of their Lord.  As a result of his reign, justice shall prevail and everyone shall have enough.  No longer shall the fool be honored, but the Lord’s princes shall reign with him in wisdom (Matthew 19:27-30; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

As for vs. 9-14, we see that the word of God can be marvelously egalitarian.  The women of Judah are given no quarter; that is, those who are complacent.  Amos 4:1 refers to the women of Israel in even more graphic fashion: “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, … who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, ‘Bring that we may drink!’”  Advent is about preparing our hearts before his coming by repenting of sin, and sin lies deep in the heart of each of us, men and women alike.  Advent means holding up our hearts before the fire of God’s holy word and letting that fire burn up the weeds and briers that have grown there due to our carelessness and apathy.  Then shall the Holy Spirit be poured out upon us, and the wilderness of our hearts become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field a forest.  “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”  And isn’t this what we want?  Well, it is this that God promises, the One who made us and knows the yearning of our hearts.  Christians are given a foretaste of this in the giving of the Spirit upon saving faith (our guarantee or down payment of 2 Corinthians 1:22).  But one day, all that is now faith shall become sight.

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