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Advent Readings: Day 8

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 11:1 - 9

1A shoot will come from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—
3and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash round his waist.

6The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.

9They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

A few comments

‘Religion? It just causes wars and stuff. We’ll never have peace while there are religious nutters claiming theirs is the only way…’ It’s a an argument made by John Lennon in Imagine, by all the New Atheists in their books, and it’s an argument that most people believe. Very few have done any research. They don’t feel the need to. Most evening the news reports some new atrocity carried out by extremists. The truth, as so often, is a very different story. Historical research bears out what Isaiah teaches in this passage: Humans cause war.

The root of all fighting, whether on the organised, national scale of world wars, or the petty domestic one of our family feuds, is our rejection of God. The planets of the solar system don’t collide because they all orbit around the sun. Humans collide because we all act as if we are the centre of the universe, and we expect others to orbit around us.

There is hope though. Not in an end to religion. But in the universal rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the ruler (v1) who has the attributes to solve the problems of our world (2-3). He will bring justice with his righteous power (4-5). The result will be a peace so profound that even the natural order will be changed. Can you imagine a world where babies can play safely by a nest of snakes?!? There will be a world of radical and thorough peace and order, because ‘the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.’

Point for Prayer

As you read of the misery and carnage in our world, confess to God sorrow for what we have done. Then thank him for the hope that Jesus brings, hope of an unbreakable reign of peace and joy.