Daily Devotion for December 13, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
In a Few More Days, a pretty contemporary Advent song by Derrol Sawyer.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I do not fear this day, for you are with me wherever I might go, your light to shine ahead, your footsteps to lead the way. I do not fear this day, for your word will be my guide. Your strength will sustain me and your love revive me, this day and all days. I do not fear this day, for you are with me. In the name of Christ, I call upon you.
Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away
Grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 138:6 (NKJV)
Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.
The Whole World Will Be Filled with Fruit
In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.
In that day, "A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day;
I have no wrath.
Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would march against them, I would burn them up together. Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me."
In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.
Notes on the Scripture
Isaiah is so poetic in his prophecies that he is often hard to follow. Here he foretells the day when God will destroy the evils of earth, with the metaphor of God slaying Leviathan, a mythical sea monster. This is Satan, which he makes clear by calling him a "serpent", but he calls him Leviathan to add the dimension of enormous size and strength, a creature that is not vulnerable to human attack.
In that same day — and like much of the Old Testament, "day" is used to mean a period of time, not necessarily 24 hours — God's wrath will end. Isaiah recalls the Garden of Eden here, but in the Day of Judgment, God will keep the garden protected from intruders who might tempt or taint the purity of those within it. Adam and Even will not need to face temptation again.
God's wrath will then end. If there were "thorns and briers to battle" — objects that invade a garden and are harmful to people — His wrath would remain; he would fight against them and destroy them, or else give them the chance to make peace with Him and come under His protective wing.
Again, this is a fanciful and poetic treatment, for Isaiah has God speak as if He were a king who had subdued all of his lands, and was thinking back to the days when he had to go to war against his enemies. He dreams of how he would treat them, how he might destroy those who oppose him and make peace with those who would kneel to him.
Finally, Isaiah prophesies that the root of Jacob will put forth shoots and fill the world with fruit. (Notice that Isaiah, by likening salvation to fruit, continues the metaphor of the garden.) Jacob, also called "Israel", was Christ's ancestor. He was Christ's physical ancestor, a line traced over thousands of years through Jesse and David. But more importantly, he was Christ's spiritual ancestor, as his offspring were the keepers of the covenant with God described in the Old Testament.
This is the part of the Scripture that relates to Christmas. It was never God's intention that the Jews should save the earth; the Old Covenant, in and of itself, was restricted to a very few people, a cohesive race, so that they might come to know and fear God. But someday, Israel will "fill the whole world with fruit", an idea very different from the covenant of God with the Hebrews where the "fruit" was only available to the Jews. With the birth of Christ, a great transition will occur, for only with Christ will the fruit of salvation fill the world and be available to all people.