Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Advent Devotional #22

Today's devotion from Goshen College:


By Paul Keim, professor of Bible, religion and philosophy

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 61:10-62:3 (NRSV)

Scroll down for complete Scripture.



The check is in the mail. That's good news. Soon it will arrive, be cashed and rest securely (I hope) in the bank, powering up my debit card. In the meantime, it’s in the mail, getting closer, but not here yet. I hope "check in the mail" is not a euphemism for payment being delayed. I keep getting calls reassuring me that indeed, the check is on the way. It will arrive shortly. That's awesome.

Even after the exiled Israelites had begun returning from Babylon to Jerusalem under the messianic rule of the Persian King Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1), the promised restoration wasn't happening. Jerusalem was still a ruin. The check was in the mail, bit it hadn't arrived yet.

But the prophets foresaw a fully restored Zion and couldn't stay quiet about it. They just kept right on

announcing: Vindication is underway. Salvation is afoot.

They will spring up like shoots from the earthly garden.

Then you'll be wearing your salvation on your sleeve, decked out in bridal finery, sporting the tony turban of a bridegroom.

Only poetic metaphor could do justice to their vision -- as when the Psalmist declares: "When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed" (Psalm 126:1)! Zion's glory will once again shine forth like the brightness of dawn, her vindication like a burning torch for all to see. The new reality demands a new name: "City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 60:14).


SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 61:10-62:3 (NRSV)

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.

(You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

View all of this season's devotions at http://www.goshen.edu/devotions

Goshen College



The views and beliefs expressed in the devotional piece prepared by each individual reflect their own spiritual growth journey and thoughts, and while created in a campus environment that encourages thoughtful questions and reflection on biblical Scripture and contemporary Christian themes, do not necessarily represent the official institutional positions of Goshen College or Mennonite Church USA.

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