Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Fifth Day of Christmas

Posted on December 29, 2018 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Isaiah 49:1-13 (NKJV)
49:1 “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, and take heed, you peoples from afar! The LORD has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. 2 And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft; In His quiver He has hidden Me.” 3 “And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, In whom I will be glorified.’ 4 Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, and my work with my God.'”
5 “And now the LORD says, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him (for I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength), 6 Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'”
7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors, to the Servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You.”
8 Thus says the LORD:
“In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. 10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; For He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them. 11 I will make each of My mountains a road, and My highways shall be elevated. 12 Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, and these from the land of Sinim.”
13 Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.
With each passing day our thoughts about Christmas Day 2018 fade in our memories. The excitement of Christmas recedes as the realities of life in this world continue to bear witness in our lives. What are we to make of all the ups and downs of life in this world?
Today’s reading from Isaiah gives a glimpse into the heart of our Lord Jesus. Though not yet born of the Virgin Mary, our Lord looks forward to His work as the Servant of God. He is the One sent from the Father to redeem Israel. Yet, of His work our Lord laments, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain.” Though God will come in the flesh to His people Israel, many will reject Him. Indeed, His labor will look “in vain.”
But in His mercy God goes beyond. To simply redeem Israel is “too small a thing.” God sends Christ for the whole world. He will be “a light to the Gentiles.” Though many will despise Jesus and abhor Him, those whom God has chosen will delight in Him.
Our ups and downs are not unknown to our Lord. He took all our burdens upon Himself at the Cross. Thus, we can know true joy in the midst of whatever comes our way. “Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.” Merry Christmas!
We pray: Enlighten our minds, we beseech Thee, O God, by the Spirit which proceedeth from Thee, that as Thy Son hath promised, we may be led into all truth. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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