Advent Devotional for December 19th

The Return of the Redeemed to Zion

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 8 A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

Please read this entire chapter of Isaiah. It’s only 10 verses and they paint an absolutely beautiful picture of life abundant….with both the wilderness and the desert full with God’s resplendent glory. In this vision the weak are strengthened, the blind can see, the deaf can hear, the mute shout for joy, and the lame leap like deer. My favorite verse is the final one where, “they will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of that!

What I take away from this moving scripture is that God deeply loves all that God has created. Furthermore, God will ensure that justice will reign, and this gives me HOPE and an excitement about that impending ‘everlasting joy’ that will ‘overtake’ me! While nobody knows what heaven is like until they get there, I am grateful for this picture in Isaiah and the reminder of God’s creative power, God’s love and mercy, God’s ability to heal and redeem, and God’s intentions for a beautiful and joyous life for all.

-Addison Ayer

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