Friday after Gaudete, The Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 22-24 (NKJV)
22:1 The burden against the Valley of Vision. What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops,
2 You who are full of noise, a tumultuous city, a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.
3 All your rulers have fled together; They are captured by the archers. All who are found in you are bound together; They have fled from afar.
4 Therefore I said, “Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; Do not labor to comfort me because of the plundering of the daughter of my people.”
5 For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts In the Valley of Vision—breaking down the walls and of crying to the mountain.
6 Elam bore the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.
7 It shall come to pass that your choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
8 He removed the protection of Judah. You looked in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest;
9 You also saw the damage to the city of David, that it was great; And you gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
10 You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses you broke down to fortify the wall.
11 You also made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.
12 And in that day the Lord GOD of hosts called for weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for girding with sackcloth.
13 But instead, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating meat and drinking wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
14 Then it was revealed in my hearing by the LORD of hosts, “Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death,” says the Lord GOD of hosts.
15 Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “Go, proceed to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house, and say:
16 ‘What have you here, and whom have you here, that you have hewn a sepulcher here, as he who hews himself a sepulcher on high, who carves a tomb for himself in a rock?
17 ‘Indeed, the LORD will throw you away violently, O mighty man, and will surely seize you.
18 ‘He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball Into a large country; There you shall die, and there your glorious chariots Shall be the shame of your master’s house.
19 ‘So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position he will pull you down.
20 ‘Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah;
21 ‘I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
22 ‘The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open.
23 ‘I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house.
24 ‘They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. 25 In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the LORD has spoken.'”
23:1 The burden against Tyre. Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no harbor; From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them.
2 Be still, you inhabitants of the coastland, you merchants of Sidon, whom those who cross the sea have filled.
3 And on great waters the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the River, is her revenue; And she is a marketplace for the nations.
4 Be ashamed, O Sidon; For the sea has spoken, the strength of the sea, saying, “I do not labor, nor bring forth children; Neither do I rear young men, nor bring up virgins.”
5 When the report reaches Egypt, they also will be in agony at the report of Tyre.
6 Cross over to Tarshish; Wail, you inhabitants of the coastland!
7 Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is from ancient days, whose feet carried her far off to dwell?
8 Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are the honorable of the earth?
9 The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.
10 Overflow through your land like the River, O daughter of Tarshish; There is no more strength.
11 He stretched out His hand over the sea, He shook the kingdoms; The LORD has given a commandment against Canaan to destroy its strongholds.
12 And He said, “You will rejoice no more, O you oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, cross over to Cyprus; There also you will have no rest.”
13 Behold, the land of the Chaldeans, this people which was not; Assyria founded it for wild beasts of the desert. They set up its towers, they raised up its palaces, and brought it to ruin.
14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For your strength is laid waste.
15 Now it shall come to pass in that day that Tyre will be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot:
16 “Take a harp, go about the city, you forgotten harlot; Make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.”
17 And it shall be, at the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre. She will return to her hire, and commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her gain and her pay will be set apart for the LORD; it will not be treasured nor laid up, for her gain will be for those who dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for fine clothing.
24:1 Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants.
2 And it shall be: As with the people, so with the priest; As with the servant, so with his master; As with the maid, so with her mistress; As with the buyer, so with the seller; As with the lender, so with the borrower; As with the creditor, so with the debtor.
3 The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, for the LORD has spoken this word.
4 The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish.
5 The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.
7 The new wine fails, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh.
8 The mirth of the tambourine ceases, the noise of the jubilant ends, the joy of the harp ceases.
9 They shall not drink wine with a song; Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The city of confusion is broken down; Every house is shut up, so that none may go in.
11 There is a cry for wine in the streets, all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.
12 In the city desolation is left, and the gate is stricken with destruction.
13 When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people, it shall be like the shaking of an olive tree, like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.
14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; For the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud from the sea.
15 Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light, The name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.
16 From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: “Glory to the righteous!” But I said, “I am ruined, ruined! Woe to me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, Indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.”
17 Fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 And it shall be that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who comes up from the midst of the pit shall be caught in the snare; For the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken.
19 The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again.
21 It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth.
22 They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; After many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.
“Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light, the name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea” (Is.24:15).
Ye sons of men, oh, hearken: Your heart and mind prepare, to hail the almighty Savior, O sinners, be your care. He Who of grace alone our Life and Light was given, the promised Lord from Heaven, unto our world is shown.
Prepare the way before Him; Prepare for Him the best, cast out whate’er offendeth this great, this heavenly Guest make straight, make plain, the way: The lowly valleys raising the heights of pride abasing. His path all even lay.
The humble heart and lowly God lifteth up on high: Beneath His feet in anguish the haughty soul shall lie. The heart, sincere and right, that heeds God’s invitation and makes true preparation, it is the Lord’s delight.
Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus, turn not from me aside, and grant that I receive Thee this blessed Adventtide. From stall and manger low come Thou to dwell within me; Loud praises will I sing Thee and forth Thy glory show.
(Ye Sons of Men, Oh, Hearken – Translation by Arthur T. Russell, 1851)
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.