Advent Devotion for December 12
Candle Lighter says: “In that day, the branch of the Lord,”
Response: “will be beautiful and glorious.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 4:2-6
2 But in that day, the branch of the Lord
will be beautiful and glorious;
the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory
of all who survive in Israel.
3 All who remain in Zion
will be a holy people—
those who survive the destruction of Jerusalem
and are recorded among the living.
4 The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion
and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains
with the hot breath of fiery judgment.
5 Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion
and all who assemble there.
He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day
and smoke and flaming fire at night,
covering the glorious land.
6 It will be a shelter from daytime heat
and a hiding place from storms and rain.
SOME THOUGHTS: Throughout the Old Testament it seems that a good deal of the time Israel was in trouble both with their neighbors and with God. In the midst of those times, God gave them prophets to point the way of faith. When the above passage came from Isaiah’s mouth, Israel was in rebellion toward God. Isaiah warned Israel to change her ways and predicted Israel would be carried off into exile. In this particular passage, he talks about the remnant who would return after the exile. You have undoubtedly noted in (v.5) his reference to “the cloud during the day and the smoke and flaming fire at night,” a clear reference to God’s leading the Israelites in the desert in the time of the Exodus. Quite often events in the Bible foreshadow later occurrences. An incident is a partial picture, often of a later, greater event. When we speak of the unity of Scripture, this is a small part of what we mean.
Moving back to (v.2) we read “In that day, the branch of the Lord…” To what day or branch are we referring? In one case we are talking about the actual return from exile and the branch being the restored Israelite remnant (the shadow). On a more ultimate level, we are foretelling the day of the Lord when all will be restored. The “branch” in this case may refer to the Messiah, the Branch of the Lord. In the eleventh chapter of Isaiah he writes (v.1) “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot−yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” Here again, we apply what we have so often heard, “the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible.” On a still larger picture yet, do you see we are the people in exile living in a corrupt fallen world as were the Israelites. We, too, await the final coming of the Messiah to establish an eternal Kingdom. It will be a beautiful and glorious day. The Advent season is about looking forward to that day. Stay under His cloud today. He is our shelter from the heat and storms of the day.
MUSIC: Once in Royal David’s City by Celtic Women (YouTube)
PRAYER: You are holy, Lord, the only God. And your deeds are wonderful. You are strong, you are great. You are the most High, you are almighty. You, holy Father, are King of heaven and earth. You are Three and One, Lord God, all good. You are our protector, you are our guardian and defender. You are our courage, you are our haven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation. You are our eternal life, great and wonderful Lord. God almighty, merciful Savior.
—St. Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226