Advent Devotionals: Day 21

Isaiah 11:10-16

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will subdue Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.

Imagine for a minute the depth and dimension of the expectation illustrated in this prophecy of deliverance. The nation of Israel, after generations of fraill, ineffective human kings, longed for the fulfillment of the promise of the coming Messiah. They remembered the faithfulness of their God in the Exodus, and they had big expectations for their powerful God. They waited expectantly for a King who would bring victory and righteousness. There would be no barriers to the unity of his people. His coming would reach the "four quarters of the earth" (v. 12).

In the same way, let us enrich our own expectations by exploring and rejoicing in God's faithfulness. As we read His Word, we not only understand more deeply the beautiful narrative of redemption, we also learn to recognize what it looks like when God is on the move. We learn His character. As we read the beautiful history that drew the nation of Israel into sweet expectation for their King, we learn to see our own lives through a lens that is focused on eternity. We have everything we need to learn to long for the deliverance only God provides.

Prayer: God, You are mighty and good and faithful. You come through. Reveal Yourself in Your precious word. Teach me to recognize You and to cling to Your promises.
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