Advent Reflections 2023: Day 9

9 December   Isaiah 40:1-11

The book of Isaiah makes a dramatic shift in chapter 40; from this point onwards, we read about the majesty of God, who is coming to rule the earth and judge all people. God will reunite Israel and Judah and restore them to glory. Instead of warning people of judgment, as he has previously, Isaiah here comforts them, and you may find God’s comfort too. When life seems to be falling apart, ask God to comfort you.

Sometimes, the only comfort we have is the knowledge that one day we will be with God. This reminds us to count on God for eternal life, not on our own strength. God’s Word remains constant: only in God’s eternal Word do we find hope, comfort, consolation and security as Isaiah unfolds God’s promise of future blessings through the Messiah.

The Bible often pictures God as a shepherd, gently caring for and guiding his flock. He is powerful (verse 10) yet careful and gentle. Note that the shepherd in this verse cares for the most defenceless members of his society: the young, and those caring for them.

Isaiah describes God’s power to create, provision to sustain, and presence to help. God is almighty, but cares generously for everyone. Nothing can be compared to God. We describe God as best we can with our limited knowledge and language, but we only limit our understand-ing of God when we compare him to what we experience on earth. Overwhelmed by life’s struggles, these bold statements about our God remind us that he is in control and that his loving rule will prevail. Don’t limit God’s work in your life by underestimating him because he guides and sustains the universe and the circumstances of our daily lives. We can rest in the knowledge of that truth and find peace.

Noel Noel

Lord, as we imagine Isaiah, this strong and courageous man of God fearlessly proclaiming your word, we hear his message – return, repent, be renewed – in relation to our own life. And we trust in your redemption through Christ. We rejoice now and always: our Saviour Jesus has come, and he’s coming again! Amen.