Thursday after Gaudete, The Third Sunday in Advent
Posted on December 20, 2018 byunder
Scripture: Isaiah 26:1-21 (NKJV)
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.
Notice that this passage in Isaiah is a song. The Word of God through His prophet teaches the people to remember several ideas that are still important parts of our faithful confession in the New Testament Church!
We are taught to trust in God above all things. We are reminded that He will bring consequences and punishment upon those who reject His mercy. We confess that God works in us and we are faithful only by His power, not ours. We look forward to the healing and rest He has promised. And we believe that His “dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise.”
The doctrine of the Church in our time is not new. The things that we believe, teach, and confess are the continuation of the Lord’s teachings and commands that He established throughout His Word from the beginning! Many passages in Isaiah sound like they could be in the New Testament because they were vivid images that would find their completion in Jesus Christ!
Our new song of the Church is the faithful continuation of the song of the faithful prophets. That is why our tradition of liturgy and hymnody is so valuable. In these we continue to sing and remember those truths that strengthen and comfort us in God’s Word, and we rejoice that we can declare to new generations His glory in our Savior Jesus Christ with His faithful people who were before us!
We pray: Lord, we beseech Thee, give ear to our prayers and lighten the darkness of our hearts by Thy gracious visitation; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.