Tuesday of the Week of Advent II
Based on Isaiah 9:1-7
Again, we turn to the reading for the day from the prophet Isaiah. And how could we not focus on this beloved, yet profound prophesy of the coming Christ child? “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!”
These words have inspired great music, powerful artwork and moving sermons! The question is, how have they inspired, impacted, transformed you?
Isaiah is speaking words of woe to God’s people, announcing God’s judgment which will fall upon Israel and Judah because of their disobedience, laziness and lukewarm faith. In the midst of his prophecies of doom and gloom, however, the word of the Lord proclaims that those who walked in darkness will see light again! He is to remind the people that they will know joy again, as the rod of their oppressor will be broken, as there will be a restoration of the kingdom and a new King to establish and uphold it. This would come with the birth of a child, a son who would be Counselor, God, Father, Prince of Peace. And how would this happen? Isaiah reminds the people, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” It will not happen by the faith, obedience or actions of the people. It will happen because the Lord of hosts is zealous for His people! It will happen because though the Lord of hosts brings judgment on those who deserve it, He shows mercy, even upon those who do not deserve it. Though there is darkness in life, joy comes with the morning! Though there is death, there is now, in the Son, resurrection! Have you had times in life when you are walking in darkness? Does it seem you are now, at this moment, dwelling in deep darkness? The light of Christ shines on you. The light of Christ is to increase your joy. The Child has been born. The Son has been given.
Prayer: Prince of Peace, bring Your light and joy into my heart and life. Drive out darkness and fear. Give me hope and courage! Amen.
Advent action: Light one candle every evening from now through Christmas Eve as a reminder of the light of Christ in your life.
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about Blessed is He Who Comes, visit thenalc.org/advent.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
9:1 (8:23) The gloom will be dispelled for those who were anxious.
In earlier times he humiliated
the land of Zebulun,
and the land of Naphtali;
but now he brings honor
to the way of the sea,
the region beyond the Jordan,
and Galilee of the nations.
2(9:1) The people walking in darkness
see a bright light;
on those who live in a land of deep darkness.
3You have enlarged the nation;
you give them great joy.
They rejoice in your presence
as harvesters rejoice;
as warriors celebrate when they divide up the plunder.
4For their oppressive yoke
and the club that strikes their shoulders,
the cudgel the oppressor uses on them,
you have shattered, as in the day of Midian’s defeat.
5Indeed every boot that marches and shakes the earth
and every garment dragged through blood
is used as fuel for the fire.
6For a child has been born to us,
a son has been given to us.
He shoulders responsibility
and is called
Prince of Peace.
7His dominion will be vast,
and he will bring immeasurable prosperity.
He will rule on David’s throne
and over David’s kingdom,
establishing it and strengthening it
by promoting justice and fairness,
from this time forward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will accomplish this.(NET Bible)
132:1 A song of ascents.
O Lord, for David’s sake remember
all his strenuous effort
2and how he made a vow to the Lord,
and swore an oath to the Powerful One of Jacob.
3He said, “I will not enter my own home,
or get into my bed.
4I will not allow my eyes to sleep
or my eyelids to slumber,
5until I find a place for the Lord,
a fine dwelling place for the Powerful One of Jacob.”
6Look, we heard about it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the territory of Jaar.
7Let us go to his dwelling place.
Let us worship before his footstool.
8Ascend, O Lord, to your resting place,
you and the ark of your strength.
9May your priests be clothed with integrity.
May your loyal followers shout for joy.
10For the sake of David, your servant,
do not reject your chosen king.
11The Lord made a reliable promise to David;
he will not go back on his word.
He said, “I will place one of your descendants on your throne.
12If your sons keep my covenant
and the rules I teach them,
their sons will also sit on your throne forever.”
13Certainly the Lord has chosen Zion;
he decided to make it his home.
14He said, “This will be my resting place forever;
I will live here, for I have chosen it.
15I will abundantly supply what she needs;
I will give her poor all the food they need.
16I will protect her priests,
and her godly people will shout exuberantly.
17There I will make David strong;
I have determined that my chosen king’s dynasty will continue.
18I will humiliate his enemies,
and his crown will shine.”(NET Bible)
2 Cor. 1:12–22
1:12 For our reason for confidence is this: The testimony of our conscience, that with pure motives and sincerity which are from God—not by human wisdom but by the grace of God—we conducted ourselves in the world, and all the more toward you. 13For we do not write you anything other than what you can read and also understand. But I hope that you will understand completely 14just as also you have partly understood us, that we are your source of pride just as you also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. 15And with this confidence I intended to come to you first so that you would get a second opportunity to see us, 16and through your help to go on into Macedonia and then from Macedonia to come back to you and be helped on our way into Judea by you. 17Therefore when I was planning to do this, I did not do so without thinking about what I was doing, did I? Or do I make my plans according to mere human standards so that I would be saying both “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18But as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but it has always been “Yes” in him. 20For every one of God’s promises are “Yes” in him; therefore also through him the “Amen” is spoken, to the glory we give to God. 21But it is God who establishes us together with you in Christ and who anointed us, 22who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
[Luther writes:] “Here the Spirit plainly ascribes to Scripture that it allumines and teaches, that understanding is given alone through the words of God as through a door for, as they call it, a first principle (principium primum) with which everyone who will come to light and understanding must begin. Again: “‘Principle or head of thine words is truth’ (Ps. 119:160). There you see that truth is here ascribed only to the head of the words of God, that is, if you learned the words of God in the rst place and used them as the first principle when you judged the words of all. And what else does this whole psalm do than to condemn the foolishness of our labor and call us back to the fountain (revocet ad fontem) and teach us that we should rst of all and alone spend our labor on the Word of God and that the Spirit is ready to come voluntarily and to expel our spirit so that we pursue theology without danger? … Therefore, nothing but the divine words are to be the first principles (prima principia) for Christians, all human words, however, are conclusions which are deducted from them and must again be reducted to them and approved by them. They must first of all be well known to everyone but not sought through men nor learned by them, but men must be judged by them. If this were not true, why should Augustine and the holy Fathers, whenever they contradict each other, go back to the holy Scripture as to the first principles of truth (ad sacras literas seu prima principia veritatis) and illumine and approve by their light and trustworthiness their own that is dark and uncertain? By doing so they teach that the divine words are more understand- able and certain than the words of all men, even their own … I do not want to be honored as one who is more learned than all, but this I desire that Scripture alone rule as queen (solam Scripturam regnare), and that it is not explained through my spirit or other men’s spirit but understood by itself and in its own spirit.” (77)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.