Advent is the four week season of preparation for Christ's coming at Christmas. This year, we are preparing our hearts reading a series of devotions collected in the booklet "Wait Upon the Lord!" by Reed Lessing. If you were not able to pick up the booklet at church, come by this week and pick one up (while supplies last!) Here is a sample, which includes the readings through Wednesday...
These devotions follow verses in the Old Testament book of the prophet Isaiah, accompanied by daily readings from today (the First Sunday in Advent) through Christmas Day (the Saturday in the Fourth Week of Advent). Do more than count down shopping days till Christmas -- count the days of longing, hoping, and expectantly waiting upon our coming King!
if you want a deeper dive into the book of Isaiah (if you dare!), download our special READING PLAN (click link for printable copy) that will give you a guide to reading the entire book of Isaiah through the season, roughly following along with our devotions. If you've been waiting for a chance to pull that old Bible down from the shelf, dust it off and open it up to see what's in there...HERE'S YOUR CHANCE!
Reading Plan for
Wait Upon the Lord
ð First Sunday of Advent Isaiah Chapters 1-2
ð Monday Isaiah Chapters 3-4
ð Tuesday Isaiah Chapters 5-6
ð Wednesday Isaiah Chapters 7-8
ð Thursday Isaiah Chapters 9-10
ð Friday Isaiah Chapters 11-12
ð Saturday Isaiah Chapters 13-15
ð Second Sunday in Advent Isaiah Chapters 16-18
ð Monday Isaiah Chapters 19-21
ð Tuesday Isaiah Chapters 22-24
ð Wednesday Isaiah Chapters 25-27
ð Thursday Isaiah Chapters 28-30
ð Friday Isaiah Chapters 31-32
ð Saturday Isaiah Chapters 33-34
ð Third Sunday in Advent Isaiah Chapters 35-36
ð Monday Isaiah Chapters 37-38
ð Tuesday Isaiah Chapters 39-40
ð Wednesday Isaiah Chapters 41-42
ð Thursday Isaiah Chapters 43-45
ð Friday Isaiah Chapters 46-48
ð Saturday Isaiah Chapters 49-50
ð Fourth Sunday in Advent Isaiah Chapters 51-52
ð Monday Isaiah Chapters 53-54
ð Tuesday Isaiah Chapters 55-56
ð Wednesday Isaiah Chapters 57-59
ð Thursday Isaiah Chapters 60-61
ð Friday (CHRISTMAS EVE) Isaiah Chapters 62-64
ð Saturday (CHRISTMAS) Isaiah Chapters 65-66
Here's an extract from today's sermon, to give you an idea of what you will find if you "come along for the ride" through the book of Isaiah:
Reading Isaiah, you will be brought back to a very interesting time. The nation of Judah was a mess, under strong pressures to ally themselves with their small neighboring nations to go up against the powerful empires of Assyria and Egypt. Isaiah was a priest who served in the temple at Jerusalem, until one day God showed up in a vision, with all of heaven and the throne of God towering over terrified little Isaiah, and the massive temple was just big enough to hold the hem of God’s robe. With strange angels flying all around, God tells Isaiah he is looking for someone to be a messenger, to go and speak the hard truth to people who have forgotten God and forsaken his ways. And with the power of each Word God was speaking vibrating through his entire body, Isaiah manages to say, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”
For the first half of the book you will be hearing these messages that God gives Isaiah to speak, along with the amazing story of God’s rescue of Jerusalem from the armies of Assyria. As you hear the messages Isaiah speaks on behalf of the Lord, you’re likely to get whiplash as the mood changes abruptly from one message to another. Isaiah loves his nation, his king, his people and his God. He wants Judah to prosper, but more importantly, he wants them to know God – not just to know there IS a God, but to hear him and to follow him. But Isaiah has no illusions about humanity’s sinful nature. Even though they’ve been chosen as God’s own, Isaiah knows that his people are just as sinful as any other nation. They have been living like the children in The Lord of the Flies, as if God were not around, watching them and ready to intervene on their behalf. There is corruption in the government, oppression of the poor and needy, worship of false gods and idols, and political scheming that endangers the whole country. Isaiah shares these messages without pulling punches, and just when you think things are so bad that the whole nation is about to go up in smoke…God speaks again.
Again and again, Isaiah turns on a dime from a message of judgment to a vision of hope. One minute we’re up to our ears in greed, violence, and injustice, hearing that God’s faithful city has become a harlot…then suddenly he’s telling us that one day people will come from all over the world to visit that city, to worship at their temple, to learn their God’s law, and that they who have abandoned God’s ways will some day teach those ways of God to all the nations…and become a light to the world.
Isaiah and his people were living through times that were difficult and tense. They faced situations where there were often no good options. But while his people were busy trying to decide between bad option #1 and bad option #2, Isaiah showed them that God was holding out a third option – to trust HIM instead of their rulers…to trust HIM instead of their gold and jewels…to trust HIM instead of armies and chariots. Isaiah was speaking the Word of their faithful God, reminding them of the destiny that God had promised them…of the special relationship that God had never forsaken, and of the promises God had never forgotten.
Isaiah showed the people that, yes, God was disappointed in the way they had neglected to show the love and justice God required of them… but God still believed in them more than they believed in themselves. God still had blessing in store for them, so that they might be a blessing to others. God wasn’t asking them to become perfect, but just to believe, and to walk in trust that God really was with them.