Friday after Gaudete, The Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 51:1-16 (NKJV)
1 “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. 2 Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him.”
3 For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
4 “Listen to Me, My people; And give ear to Me, O My nation: For law will proceed from Me, and I will make My justice rest as a light of the peoples. 5 My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, and My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait upon Me, and on My arm they will trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not be abolished.
7 “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation.”
9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart, and wounded the serpent? 10 Are You not the One who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; That made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over? 11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? 13 And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, that he should not die in the pit, and that his bread should not fail. 15 But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared—the Lord of hosts is His name. 16 And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, that I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.'”
The Prophet Isaiah points us to Abraham. He trusted in Jesus Christ, the Savior Who was to come. Galatians 3:6-9 says, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, ‘In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.'”
The Prophet Isaiah points us to Sarah. It was by means of Sarah’s womb that the line of the Promised Savior came. Hebrews 11:11 says, “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
Isaiah directed believers to God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah in order to strengthen their faith that God would come to bring salvation and deliver God’s people. If Isaiah could do that, when the promised Savior had not yet come, then we, also, are doubly strengthened when we see the fulfillment of all God’s promises in Jesus. We need not be afraid of sin, death, or the insults of those who oppress us. The One Who laid the foundations of the Earth and the Christian Church has established righteousness through faith in Christ.
We pray: Lord God, comfort Your people with the forgiveness of sins which proceeds from You, that we may listen to You always. Amen.