Advent Daily Devotional

THIS WEEK

Daily Devotional 2022 Day Four

Advent Devotional 4

December 1, 2022

Isaiah 40: 27-31

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
   and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
   and my right is disregarded by my God’?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
   his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
   and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
   and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
   they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
   they shall walk and not faint.

Here Isaiah responds to the complaints against God from God’s people. They complain that God is not present and disregards the rights as God’s people. What is that “way” that is hidden from God? It is the way of the will of the people that is foreign to God. It is the way of idolatry, where God is secondary and distant from our minds. What are the “rights” that God disregards? The rights claimed by people based on their status as “God’s people”. But even God’s people have responsibilities that accompany our rights as people of God.

When I turned 16, I immediately started the process of getting my driver’s license. First, I got my learner’s permit. I was now allowed to drive a car as long as I had a licensed driver with me. Typically, that was my dad (never my brother), but I also took driver’s education at school. I learned the rules of the road, how to parallel park, how to stay in my lane and what all those traffic signals meant. If I wanted the right to drive a car, I had to learn my responsibilities, too, didn’t I? Then we would return to the classroom to watch … those movies. You know the ones. Traffic accidents. Ugh. Why watch those movies? To show us what it looks like when we are irresponsible. When we forget the rules, even for a moment.

That is what Isaiah is doing here. Isaiah is saying that God’s people have ignored their responsibility and are suffering the consequences. But Isaiah then affirms God’s ability to fix those consequences and to repair the damage from those poor decisions. For those who take on God’s expected responsibility, God will restore them to their former strength. What are our responsibilities as God’s people? Something to ponder this advent.



Daily Devotional 2022 Day Three

Advent Devotional 3

November 30, 2022

Isaiah 40: 6-8

6 A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
   And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
   their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
   when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
   surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades;
   but the word of our God will stand for ever.

A voice now directs another message to be delivered. It might initially sound like a less than positive idea. We are like grass and flowers. We wither and we fade. We are no more permanent than the plants on the meadows. The only thing that is permanent is the word of our God. Is that something that should comfort us? Actually, it should. 

God’s word is eternal. God’s word becomes action. It is powerful. It is creative. It is what orders the universe. It is what gives life. Through God’s word, the earth and all that is in it has been created. And all that is in the earth has an order to it. That order includes a constant re-creation as things come and go over time. Grass grows and then withers. Flowers bloom and then their petals fall. We live and then we die. But like the grass and the flowers, we are promised to be re-created in our season. We are re-created by the word of God. The word made flesh. Jesus, who promised us eternal life that includes a re-creation, is that word. Powerful, creative, ordered, eternal. And because Jesus says it, it will happen. We will be re-created. We should be comforted. Something to ponder during Advent.



Daily Devotional 2022 Day Two

November 29, 2022
Isaiah 40: 3-5
3  A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4  Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.
5  Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’
 
The first two verses of Isaiah direct that God’s people be comforted by tender words telling
them they are released from their penalty. But then a different voice cries out that these
same people must now get to work! They are to prepare a way through the desolation that
has separated them from God so that they can reconnect to God. They must dig through the
mountains and fill up the valleys. The way must be paved. Then the glory of the Lord will
appear. The people of Jerusalem can be confident in this because God, Godself, has said so.
When I was a boy, my family would go to Edinboro Lake for weekends and vacations. To
get there from Pittsburgh, you had to travel north on Rt. 19 most of the way. It was a long
and boring trip. Then in the late 60’s, construction of Interstate 79 was started. Over the
years, we watched “79” get built. The construction was a huge undertaking. Hills were
leveled, valleys filled, 79 went straight where 19 was curvy. Bridges were built. (One bridge
over the wetlands just south of Meadville allegedly sank into the swamp and had to be built
again!) In the end, a three-and-a-half-hour trip became a one hour and forty-five-minute
trip. This was not the glory of the Lord, but it seemed a miracle to me. It made the way to
Edinboro easier.
Advent is a time for us to build our own highways to God. While we don’t have to physically
dig through mountains or fill valleys, we do have to make a way between God and us so that
we can feel the comfort and forgiveness we heard about in the first two verses of Isaiah 40.
What deserted place is keeping us separated from God? What is it that stands in our way?
How do we overcome it? Something to ponder during Advent. A voice is crying out!



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