Tuesday within the Octave of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord
Scripture: Isaiah 55-57 (NKJV)
55:1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 “Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.
4 “Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people.
5 “Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.”
6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 “so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
56:1 Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.
2 “Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
3 Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD Speak, saying, “The LORD has utterly separated me from His people”; Nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant,
5 “Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
6 “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—
7 “even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
8 The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.”
9 All you beasts of the field, come to devour, all you beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yes, they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory. 12 “Come,” one says, “I will bring wine, and we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow will be as today, and much more abundant.”
57:1 The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.
2 He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
3 “But come here, you sons of the sorceress, you offspring of the adulterer and the harlot!
4 “Whom do you ridicule? Against whom do you make a wide mouth and stick out the tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring of falsehood,
5 “inflaming yourselves with gods under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?
6 “Among the smooth stones of the stream is your portion; They, they, are your lot! Even to them you have poured a drink offering, you have offered a grain offering. Should I receive comfort in these?
7 “On a lofty and high mountain you have set your bed; Even there you went up to offer sacrifice.
8 “Also behind the doors and their posts you have set up your remembrance; For you have uncovered yourself to those other than Me, and have gone up to them; You have enlarged your bed and made a covenant with them; You have loved their bed, where you saw their nudity.
9 “You went to the king with ointment, and increased your perfumes; You sent your messengers far off, and even descended to Sheol.
10 “You are wearied in the length of your way; Yet you did not say, ‘There is no hope.’ You have found the life of your hand; Therefore you were not grieved.
11 “And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me?
12 “I will declare your righteousness and your works, for they will not profit you.
13 “When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry them all away, a breath will take them. But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit My holy mountain.”
14 And one shall say, “Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, take the stumbling block out of the way of My people.”
15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
16 “For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.
17 “For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
18 “I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners.
19 “I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,” says the LORD, “And I will heal him.”
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
The prophet asks us rhetorically, “Why do you spend money on what is not bread? And your wages for what does not satisfy?” What a question! And yet we all do it. We squander our money, our time, our energy on things that are not truly worthy of it, on things that ultimately leave us unfulfilled. But he follows this question with a glorious offer: “Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.”
As we have just celebrated the birth of our Savior, behold how this promise has been fulfilled! Listen. Listen well. Take it to heart. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. What could matter more than this, that God the Son has taken up our human flesh to bear our sin, redeem us from our fallenness, and give us eternal life by way of His own death and resurrection? And hearing this, how joyfully wise it is of us to re-prioritize our lives according to this “everlasting covenant” of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord! God grant us grace to “live there” in communion with our merciful heavenly Father, in a blessed communion that will indeed be “everlasting.”
We pray: Lord God, heavenly Father, by Your grace make us to set our hearts on things above, and not on earthly things, that at the last we may indeed know the eternal pleasures that are to be found at Your right hand, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.