Saturday after Gaudete, The Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 25-27 (NKJV)
25:1 O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
2 For You have made a city a ruin, a fortified city a ruin, a palace of foreigners to be a city no more; It will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore the strong people will glorify You; The city of the terrible nations will fear You.
4 For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
5 You will reduce the noise of aliens, as heat in a dry place; As heat in the shadow of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones will be diminished.
6 And in this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees.
7 And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
10 For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest, and Moab shall be trampled down under Him, as straw is trampled down for the refuse heap.
11 And He will spread out His hands in their midst as a swimmer reaches out to swim, and He will bring down their pride together with the trickery of their hands.
12 The fortress of the high fort of your walls He will bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, down to the dust.
26:1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.
2 “Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.
3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
4 “Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
5 “For He brings down those who dwell on high, the lofty city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He brings it down to the dust.
6 “The foot shall tread it down—the feet of the poor and the steps of the needy.”
7 The way of the just is uprightness; O Most Upright, You weigh the path of the just.
8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O LORD, we have waited for You; The desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10 Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11 LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see. But they will see and be ashamed for their envy of people; Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.
12 LORD, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us.
13 O LORD our God, masters besides You have had dominion over us; But by You only we make mention of Your name.
14 They are dead, they will not live; They are deceased, they will not rise. Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
15 You have increased the nation, O LORD, You have increased the nation; You are glorified; You have expanded all the borders of the land.
16 LORD, in trouble they have visited You, they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.
17 As a woman with child is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near the time of her delivery, so have we been in Your sight, O LORD.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain; We have, as it were, brought forth wind; We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.
21 For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.
27:1 In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
2 In that day sing to her, “A vineyard of red wine!
3 “I, the LORD, keep it, I water it every moment; Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.
4 “Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
5 “Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; And he shall make peace with Me.”
6 Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
7 Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him? Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him?
8 In measure, by sending it away, You contended with it. He removes it by His rough wind In the day of the east wind.
9 Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: When he makes all the stones of the altar like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, wooden images and incense altars shall not stand.
10 Yet the fortified city will be desolate, the habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down and consume its branches.
11 When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off; The women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, and He who formed them will show them no favor.
12 And it shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will thresh, from the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel.
13 So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
“And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation'” (Is. 25:9).
Rejoice, rejoice, believers, and let your lights appear. The evening is advancing, and darker night is near. The Bridegroom is arising, and soon He draweth nigh. Up, pray, and watch, and wrestle: At midnight comes the cry.
See that your lamps are burning; replenish them with oil. And wait for your salvation, the end of earthly toil. The watchers on the mountain proclaim the Bridegroom near. Go meet Him as He cometh, with alleluias clear.
O wise and holy virgins, now raise your voices higher, until in songs of triumph ye meet the angel choir. The marriage feast is waiting, the gates wide open stand; Rise up, ye heirs of glory, the Bridegroom is at hand.
Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear! Arise, Thou Sun so longed for, over this benighted sphere! With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see the day of earth’s redemption that brings us unto Thee.
Ye saints, who here in patience your cross and sufferings bore, shall live and reign forever, when sorrow is no more. Around the throne of glory the Lamb ye shall behold; In triumph cast before Him your diadems of gold!
(Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers – Translation by Sarah Findlater, 1854)
We pray: Most Merciful God, Who has given Your Eternal Word to be made incarnate of the Virgin, grant to Your people grace to put away fleshly lusts, so that we may be made ready for Your visitation; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord. Amen.