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Isaiah 9:1-7, Isaiah: A Child Is Born

Sunday, November 19

God's Promise

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Has there ever been a time in human history when there was world peace? It’s an incredibly complex question and the short answer is no. Since the history of civilization, it seems there has always been conflict in the world . . . somewhere. The United States has been at war 93% of its 239-year history. Canada has been at war over half of its 150 years. Nearly every country in the world is now or has at one time been at war.

It makes me wonder what happened to the promise: “For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire” (v. 5). If we are to understand Isaiah as a prophecy fulfilled with the coming of Jesus, then why hasn’t the rest of the prophecy come to pass? Much like the early Christians who wondered when the temple was torn down in 70 AD if the promise of Christ’s return was ever going to be fulfilled, we too might wonder: where is this peace on earth?

The reality is we are living in a tension where both the broken world and the new creation exist, side by side. On the one hand, the world is still flawed, messy, imperfect. On the other hand, the world is also a new creation – made new by the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The gift of Christ’s coming was not a world perfected and handed over to humanity to revel in. Christ’s coming ushered in the beginning of a creation where human beings are co-creators of the promised kingdom. Every time we feed the hungry or clothe the naked we bring light to a darkened world. Every time we fight for justice we lift the burden of the “bar across their shoulders.” Every time we choose peace and love over war and conflict, we burn “garments rolled in blood.” God did God’s part to usher in the new creation. It is up to us to do our part to bring God’s kingdom to earth.

As we prepare for Advent, a time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of the Christ child, we remember that we are also waiting and preparing for the final days when God’s reign will be fully realized.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Isaiah 9:1-7

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.