Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
–Charles Wesley, quoted at cyberhymnal.org
This week we focus on Isaiah the prophet. We’ll read several of his prophecies and ponder what he said about the Messiah. Isaiah heard God’s message, shared it and recorded it.
My friend Natasha told me about a Christmas when money was extremely tight. She was startled to receive an unexpected letter from her insurance company with a refund that would cover her Christmas gift-giving. She said she took a picture of the letter as a record of God’s faithfulness, so that she can look back at it when times are hard. I thought this was a beautiful idea!
We are not all prophets, but if we have responded to God’s call and believed in his son, we have the promise of Immanuel—the certainty that God is with us. Do you have a record of a time you were conscious of that nearness? Here’s a good place to start:
His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
When was God wonderful to you?
When was he your counselor?
When did you see a mighty work of God in your life?
When was he your Father and your Prince of Peace?
Did a situation come to mind? How can you document it? You might borrow Natasha’s idea and take a picture of something that represents God’s faithfulness to you. Don’t leave that photo in your phone—get it printed out and write a few words on the back of the photo to summarize the event.
As you read the scripture today, keep looking for a treasure verse, and phrases to use as you pray. Ask yourself, “How does this passage bring me comfort, joy or hope today?” (All of this week’s scriptures are right here.)
Psalm 72: This psalm is a prayer that the descendants of King David will rule their land wisely. It also looks forward to the perfect reign of the Messiah.
Isaiah 11: Jesse was King David’s father. The “branch from his roots” refers to Jesus, and the fact that Jesus is descended from David. Isaiah 11 describes Jesus’ future reign of complete peace.
Romans 15: “Whatever was written in the former days” (ESV) refers to the Old Testament books.
Matthew 3: Notice that Matthew quotes the words of Isaiah to introduce John the Baptist.
Today my treasure is the word “wait” from Romans 15:4.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things. (Psalm 72:18)
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2 NLT)
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice! (Psalm 72:1-2)
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. (Romans 15:4-9 NLT)
The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John [the Baptist]
when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”
(Matthew 3:3 NLT)
Lord Jesus, I am waiting for you to return to earth. You are the perfect descendant of David who will rule the world with complete justice. The news today is full of terror and wickedness, but your promises give me hope and encouragement. Deliver me from cynicism and hopelessness. I ask you to raise up godly leaders who have your justice and your righteousness in mind.