Saturday after Populus Sion, The Second Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 4-6 (NKJV)
4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; Only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.”
2 In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.
3 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 5 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. 6 And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.
5:1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: “My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill.
2 “He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.
3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
4 “What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?
5 “And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6 “I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it.”
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
8 Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, till there is no place where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land!
9 In my hearing the LORD of hosts said, “Truly, many houses shall be desolate, great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant.
10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield one ephah.”
11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!
12 The harp and the strings, the tambourine and flute, and wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the LORD, nor consider the operation of His hands.
13 Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; Their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure; Their glory and their multitude and their pomp, and he who is jubilant, shall descend into it.
15 People shall be brought down, each man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled.
16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.
17 Then the lambs shall feed in their pasture, and in the waste places of the fat ones strangers shall eat.
18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope;
19 That say, “Let Him make speed and hasten His work, that we may see it; And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may know it.”
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,
23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!
24 Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them and stricken them, and the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.
26 He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, and will whistle to them from the end of the earth; Surely they shall come with speed, swiftly.
27 No one will be weary or stumble among them, no one will slumber or sleep; Nor will the belt on their loins be loosed, nor the strap of their sandals be broken;
28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent; Their horses’ hooves will seem like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind.
29 Their roaring will be like a lion, they will roar like young lions; Yes, they will roar and lay hold of the prey; They will carry it away safely, and no one will deliver.
30 In that day they will roar against them like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and sorrow; And the light is darkened by the clouds.
6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Then I said,
“Here am I! Send me.”
9 And He said,
“Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.”
11 Then I said,
“Lord, how long?”
And He answered:
“Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate,
12 “the LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13 “But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump.”
“The Christian has no other cover than Christ; he does not rely on the arm of flesh, for there is no salvation in man, nor on good works, for they are not good in the presence of God. The Christian should teach and act in such a way that he may dare to stand in the presence of God. But the faithful are supported by the Word alone.
“The heat is an internal attack, when the conscience is smitten by the wrath of God, an attack which it also feels when the wrath of God is experienced. It is called the lash of God, and that because it is a punishment that God thus inflicts in a fatherly spirit. Yet because our nature feels it with extreme anguish, it is called wrath, even though God is not angry but loves whom He chastises. Satan is added to this anguish, and despair is increased. As a result there is distress within and without, which is the heat, and it is called spiritual. God, however, chastises so that the power of the Word may be shown to us and Satan may see that the Word is invincible and so that thus the power of the Holy Spirit may be glorified.
“He who has regard for the crowd or tries to gain the good will of princes is deceived, because there is no help in man. Such people cause destruction. Thus God said to Ahaz that he should not fear the king of Syria and promised that He would be his protector, but Ahaz did not believe it (Is. 7:3). Faintheartedness is not made strong with hands but by the Word of God, which alone heartens and causes to stand. If you trust in men, you will have help neither from them nor from God, Who forsakes those who forsake Him. For the Word of God is the exceedingly strong tower of Zion and the pavilion of God offering protection in prosperity and adversity.” (Luther’s Works, vol. 16: Lectures on Isaiah: Chapters 1-39)
We pray: Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Thine Only-Begotten Son, so that by His coming we may be enabled to serve Thee with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ. Amen.