Advent Devotion for December 11
Candle Lighter says: “In the night I search for you.”
Response: “In the morning I earnestly seek you.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 26:7-15
7 But for those who are righteous,
the way is not steep and rough.
You are a God who does what is right,
and you smooth out the path ahead of them.
8 Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;
our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.
9 In the night I search for you;
in the morning I earnestly seek you.
For only when you come to judge the earth
will people learn what is right.
10 Your kindness to the wicked
does not make them do good.
Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong
and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty.
11 O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist.
Show them your eagerness to defend your people.
Then they will be ashamed.
Let your fire consume your enemies.
12 Lord, you will grant us peace;
all we have accomplished is really from you.
13 O Lord our God, others have ruled us,
but you alone are the one we worship.
14 Those we served before are dead and gone.
Their departed spirits will never return!
You attacked them and destroyed them,
and they are long forgotten.
15 O Lord, you have made our nation great;
yes, you have made us great.
You have extended our borders,
and we give you the glory!
SOME THOUGHTS: There are so many powerful themes in these words from Isaiah. He was preaching to a persecuted people. His words were to encourage repentance and righteous living. He painted a picture of a smooth path for the righteous. We may read this and conclude something is wrong. The righteous do not have a smooth path. They are under great stress from their enemies. So what is going on? The trouble is, we quickly look at a situation from our human perspective and draw our conclusions not only about the circumstances, but also about God. We assume we see all that is. If we had all knowledge, that would be true. Since we are not omniscient, we must acknowledge the One who has all knowledge. We want to put (v.7) in human time; God puts it in eternal time. I’ll go with the eternal…it lasts a lot longer! In the meantime, (v.8) gives us guidance for the “human time.” Put simply, live in obedience that God may be glorified. Did you notice that in (v.9) there is no time we are not to be seeking God? The latter part of that verse clues us in on God’s timing for dealing with the wicked. It also tells us of the character of our Lord. He is kind and patient with those who rebel. In Hebrews we read “God is a consuming fire.” Here in Isaiah we read of God’s fiery judgment of the wicked. Isaiah then turns our attention back to the obedient faithful in acknowledging God as the sole provider and the one who is worshiped. In the end, time runs out and judgment comes for those who have rebelled, ignored, or defied God. Those made righteous by the grace of God enjoy His eternal favor. You see, we are the ones Isaiah is speaking to! Don’t fret over the evildoers. Earthly time will run out. In the meantime, stay on the path; it gets smoother! God said so!
MUSIC: Lo, How a Rose E’er Bloomin (in German) by Ensemble Amarcor (YouTube)
PRAYER: O Lord, this is all my desire−to walk along the path of life that Thou hast appointed me, even as Jesus my Lord would walk along it, in steadfastness of faith, in meekness of spirit, in lowliness of heart, in gentleness of love. And because outward events have so much power in scattering my thoughts and disturbing the inward peace in which alone the voice of Thy spirit is heard, do, Thou gracious Lord, calm and settle my soul that by subduing power which alone can bring all thoughts and desires of the heart into captivity to Thyself. All I have is Thine; do Thou with all as seems best to Thy divine will; for I know not what is best. Let not the cares or duties of this life press on me too heavily; but lighten my burden, that I may follow Thy way in quietness, filled with thankfulness for Thy mercy, and rendering acceptable service unto Thee. Amen.
—Maria Hare, 1798-1870