Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 14, 2019

Saturday of the Week of Advent II

Based on Isaiah 11:10-12:6

While leading a Bible study on Exodus in my former congregation, a member indicated she had commented to a friend that we are appreciating our study of an Old Testament book. The friend, who attended another church replied, “We don’t read the Old Testament, we only focus on the New Testament and the Gospel.”

It’s unfortunate that people consider the Old Testament to be all (and only) Law, and the New Testament all (and only) Gospel! It is truly a misunderstanding of both! As we are reading through Isaiah, one can clearly hear Law, judgment and condemnation, but there clearly is also good news, hope and promise! That is certainly the case in today’s reading from Isaiah 11.

As we’ve discussed before, the prophet is tasked with announcing a time of judgment which will come upon the people because of their faithlessness. At the same time, however, there is the promise of restoration and new life! Can there be a more hopeful image, than the Lord God extending His hand and “recovering” the remnant of His people?

If you read the entire appointed passage, there is an assembling, by the hand of the Lord: “The banished of Israel, [gathering] the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” “And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant of the remains of his people,” to bring them back to the land God had given them. And in that day, the people will give thanks that though there was anger, the Lord turned away from His anger, and comforted His people. They will trust in the Lord and not be afraid. Rather, they will shout and sing for joy!

Tomorrow we will observe the Third Sunday in Advent, traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, or Joy Sunday. The lessons often speak of joy and rejoicing! When I was in the parish it was a blessing to have one Sunday in the middle of Advent to change altar colors, in the midst of dark and dreary December, from purple (or now blue) to pink or rose, the color of joy! Let us tomorrow shout and sing for joy that the Lord has comforted His people!

Prayer: I give thanks to you, O Lord, for you have comforted me! Amen.

Advent action: Wear something pink, rose-colored or joyful tomorrow!

 

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.

Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

Is. 18:1–7

18:1 Beware, land of buzzing wings,

the one beyond the rivers of Cush,

2that sends messengers by sea,

who glide over the water’s surface in boats made of papyrus.

Go, you swift messengers,

to a nation of tall, smooth-skinned people,

to a people that are feared far and wide,

to a nation strong and victorious,

whose land rivers divide.

3All you who live in the world,

who reside on the earth,

you will see a signal flag raised on the mountains;

you will hear a trumpet being blown.

4For this is what the Lord has told me:

“I will wait and watch from my place,

like scorching heat produced by the sunlight,

like a cloud of mist in the heat of harvest.”

5For before the harvest, when the bud has sprouted,

and the ripening fruit appears,

he will cut off the unproductive shoots with pruning knives;

he will prune the tendrils.

6They will all be left for the birds of the hills

and the wild animals;

the birds will eat them during the summer,

and all the wild animals will eat them during the winter.

7At that time

tribute will be brought to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,

by a people that are tall and smooth-skinned,

a people that are feared far and wide,

a nation strong and victorious,

whose land rivers divide.

The tribute will be brought to the place where the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has chosen to reside, on Mount Zion.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 142

142:1 A well-written song by David, when he was in the cave; a prayer.

To the Lord I cry out;

to the Lord I plead for mercy.

2I pour out my lament before him;

I tell him about my troubles.

3Even when my strength leaves me,

you watch my footsteps.

In the path where I walk

they have hidden a trap for me.

4Look to the right and see!

No one cares about me.

I have nowhere to run;

no one is concerned about my life.

5I cry out to you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my shelter,

my security in the land of the living.”

6Listen to my cry for help,

for I am in serious trouble!

Rescue me from those who chase me,

for they are stronger than I am.

7Free me from prison,

that I may give thanks to your name.

Because of me the godly will assemble,

for you will vindicate me.

(NET Bible)

2 Cor. 9:6–15

9:6 My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work. 9Just as it is written, “He has scattered widely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.” 10Now God who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow. 11You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God, 12because the service of this ministry is not only providing for the needs of the saints but is also overflowing with many thanks to God. 13Through the evidence of this service they will glorify God because of your obedience to your confession in the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your sharing with them and with everyone. 14And in their prayers on your behalf they long for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown to you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

(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.

Learn More