Isaiah 24:1 16a (NRSV)
Judgment is coming, but glorify God
Now the Lord is about to lay waste the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The earth shall be utterly laid waste and utterly despoiled;
for the Lord has spoken this word.
The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers;
the heavens languish together with the earth.
The earth lies polluted
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled,
and few people are left.
The wine dries up,
the vine languishes,
all the merry hearted sigh.
The mirth of the timbrels is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
No longer do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
The city of chaos is broken down,
every house is shut up so that no one can enter.
There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has reached its eventide;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
Desolation is left in the city,
the gates are battered into ruins.
For thus it shall be on the earth
and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is ended.
They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
they shout from the west over the majesty of the Lord.
Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea glorify the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.
One might read this scripture and feel supremely shocked. After all the first few paragraphs discuss God's judgment upon all the people of the earth, and the final stanza reads, "They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; they shout from the west over the majesty of the Lord...From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One."
It is a mighty strange transition, but it is one that Christians, this side of the cross should have no trouble making, right?
After all, we know that the "wages of sin are death, but the gift of life is eternal."
In this Advent Season, we slow down and focus all of our attention on Christ. We remember to wait on the salvation of God. We remember to be thankful for Jesus' saving work on the cross. We encourage our souls to give glory to the Righteous One who has done marvelous things for us!
It is in this CHRISTmas season, that we shout to the East and West that Jesus saves and He saves to the utmost. We allow our example to be one of giving instead of taking, spending wisely instead of extravagantly, and slowing down instead of speeding up.
As we act in ways that may seem counter cultural, hopefully we will share the love, joy, hope, and peace that this season affords us through faith in Jesus Christ!
Indeed, salvation is for the rich and poor, old and young, male and female; It's for us all!
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL!
Let us pray: Oh God, glory to you! There is none like you! Thank you for Jesus! Thank you for the gift of salvation! Please give me opportunity to share this good news. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta