Behold, the Lord, the God of hosts, will lop off the boughs with a terrible crash; those who are tall in stature will be cut down and those who are lofty will be abased. He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an iron axe, and Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.
It’s the beginning of the Advent season, and maybe you’re wondering if I missed the memo, or opened up my Bible to the wrong chapter. I admit: these don’t sound like Advent verses.
A wrathful, axe-wielding God is not the God I often reflect on in the days leading up to His greatest and most sacrificial gift.
No, I’m far quicker to open my Bible to the joyous prophecies, the most obvious reminders of God’s love and grace and faithfulness. And indeed, when I set out to write this Advent devotional, I intended to start here instead:
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
However, I couldn’t fully quiet the nagging voice of my inner Bible scholar, reciting to me the first three rules of excellent Biblical study: Context, context, and context. Chapter 11 of Isaiah begins with the word then – an adverb meaning “next” or “after that,” which begs us to ask the question, “After what?”
And our search for the answer leads us backward, to the end of Isaiah chapter 10, with those verses that don’t really sound like Advent verses.
If you find yourself in a painful season of waiting rather than a joyful one this Advent season, I hope you’ll read the rest of this post over at Living Free Indeed! (click here)
I was honored to share what God has been teaching me on Dani’s website. She has created some excellent Biblical resources that I hope you’ll check out.