December 12, 2010, Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 52:7-10
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! The watchman shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem. Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song, for the Lord has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has demonstrated his holy power before the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the victory of our God.
In this passage, the people of Israel are called to listen. They are specifically called to listen for the voice of the messenger who will bring good news that peace and salvation has come, that the Lord reigns, Jerusalem has been restored. God has come, and by his power and grace, has comforted the people and redeemed them from their sins.
It is appropriate that the historical context of this passage comes during the Babylonian Captivity, which was a time when the people of Israel were removed from their homes, and held in bondage because of their disobedience.
We have heard the messenger and we shout for joy, just like the watchman. We rejoice for the King is Alive, the Lord lives, and reigns and brings peace to the entire world. Salvation has come! Rejoice for God has redeemed the people!
Imagine this message of peace and God’s reign came during the darkest moments in the history of Israel. What does that mean for us, today? What would it mean for God to speak to the darkest moments in our lives that God resigns and that God has brought peace to our lives in those moments?
My hope is that it gives us release from our bondage – sin – and gives us reason to rejoice this season. We no longer live in spiritual captivity. We rejoice for God is here, and peace has come!
So, live in peace this day. For we have heard the cry of the messenger, we have rejoiced at the mountain, the Lord lives! Praise be to God!
Lord, you bring peace and salvation! Through your Son, Jesus Christ, we have felt the release of being held in bondage to our sin. May we live in that peace this day, and share it with our fellow brothers and sisters here and throughout the world. Amen.