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Advent Readings: Day 11

For this Advent season we offer you a Bible reading for each day which points to the first coming of the Lord Jesus at Christmas and his return in glory!

Isaiah 40:1 - 11

1Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.

3A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
4Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

6A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.

7The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”

9You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
11He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

A few comments

After 39 chapters dominated by His coming judgement, the Lord turns to speak gentle words of comfort to his sinful people. The time for God to fulfil his promises was coming. Unlike the flowers of the field, unlike the people of the world, God’s word does not fade away. Generations had come and gone since the first word of promise was given to Adam and Eve. Empires had risen and faded into the dust. But still God’s word stood firm. And the day would soon come when a voice in the desert would cry out that the Lord was coming to his people, and that all mankind would soon see the glory of God. And what would they see? What would the unchanging God look like when he came ‘with power’ (10)? Like a shepherd tending his flocks, carrying his lambs ‘close to his heart… gently leading.’

Point for Prayer

Praise God that he is both unchanging and yet compassionate; a God who is a firm foundation for all eternity, and yet also a God who gently bears us in his arms.