Advent Devotion for December 30
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 28:14-18
14 Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord,
you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem.
15 You boast, “We have struck a bargain to cheat death
and have made a deal to dodge the grave.
The coming destruction can never touch us,
for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception.”
16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.
17 I will test you with the measuring line of justice
and the plumb line of righteousness.
Since your refuge is made of lies,
a hailstorm will knock it down.
Since it is made of deception,
a flood will sweep it away.
18 I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death,
and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave.
When the terrible enemy sweeps through,
you will be trampled into the ground.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 4:8-13
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
SOME THOUGHTS: The first two verses of Isaiah come pretty close to describing the world in which we live. The focus is on living for the moment and avoiding the thought of death. Even in regards to death, when forced to deal with it, the general thought is, “I’m a pretty good person and I’ve done more good than bad, so I’ll probably come out OK. After all, God loves everybody. Pretty much everybody goes to heaven, except really bad people like Hitler.” What a treacherous path of thinking that is! God says, “I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death.” Verse sixteen of Isaiah gives us our trustworthy base. God is the one who places the Cornerstone, rather than human beings. The work of our hands is mortal; the work of God’s hands eternal. In the midst of Peter’s sermon, he proclaims that Jesus Christ is God’s Cornerstone, the only basis for salvation. He reminds the people of the path they were on, one that killed their only hope of salvation. But in Christ, God did cancel death, not by trying to cheat it, but by eternally defeating it! “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill to all peoples.”
MUSIC: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
- Casting Crowns (YouTube)
- Unknown Artist (YouTube)
Another must listen! This gives the background of the setting (Civil War) video.
PRAYER: O Educator, be gracious to thy children, O Educator, Father, Guide of Israel, Son and Father, both one, Lord. Give to us, who follow thy command, to fulfill the likeness of thy image, and to see, according to our strength, the God who is both a good God and a Judge who is not harsh. Do thou thyself bestow all things on us who dwell in thy peace, who have been placed in thy city, who sail the sea of sin unruffled, that we may be made tranquil and supported by the Holy Spirit, the unutterable Wisdom, by night and day, unto the perfect day, to sing eternal thanksgiving to the one only Father and Son, Son and Father, Educator and Teacher with the Holy Spirit. - Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215)