About the author: Jim Cochrane and his wife, Kim, have been members of ZPC since 1990. Jim currently teaches adult Sunday School and leads a Home Group.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 35:3-7
Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution.
He will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
At the time Isaiah was writing these words, Israel was in dire straits as the Assyrians, under Sennacherib, were threatening to invade their country. They were hopelessly outnumbered and it only seemed a matter of time until they were destroyed. In this passage Isaiah is telling the religious teachers and guides that the people are despondent, timid, and fearful (“feeble hands, weak knees”) and need to know that God has promised to deliver them from their enemies. Good things are going to come about that are simply unimaginable. The fear that exists will turn to joy!
It happened then – Sennacherib was defeated and went home. It happened about 700 years later (with Jesus' ministry on Earth) – do blind eyes seeing, deaf ears hearing, lame walking and mute tongues talking ring a bell? And it’s happening today – people are turning to Christ and experiencing the joy that he promised years ago.
We may not consider ourselves religious teachers or guides, like the people that Isaiah was writing to, but we are. As Christians we are being asked to encourage, teach, and set an example for others that will continue to lead people to Christ. We don’t have to be Bible scholars or persuasive evangelists. There are a million ways to bring the joy of Christ and it all starts with the anticipation and appreciation of the Good News that was foretold by Isaiah and brought to us by Jesus Christ. We are called to use those gifts which he has given us. Are you a good listener, do you bake cookies, cut down trees, pray, fix computers? The list goes on.
Do one thing today to bring the joy of Christ to one person.
Thank you that our feeble hands and weak knees will be strengthened and steadied and that we have much joy to look forward to now and in the future. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, please help us play a part of lives being changed through Jesus Christ.