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Advent Devotional #7

Today's devotion from Goshen College:


By Carl Helrich, professor of physics

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:1-11 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.


This chapter begins a second part of the book of Isaiah.
The people had fallen short of what they may have been and
pain, sorrow and exile have been their lot. But now the time
of atonement for sin is over. The nation has received
punishment for her sin. Now the time of darkness is over.
And now the calling of the prophet is to console the people.

The consolation is not simply a release. The call to the
prophet is to prepare a way for Yahweh in the wilderness and
a straight pathway in the desert. The deep valleys of our
souls must be filled in and the heights of our pride and
arrogance must be broken down. The rocky and jagged cliffs
that may have been our fortress or our monument will come
down and we will see Yahweh. This is a promise. We will see
and know the glory of the Lord. And we will be part of the
seeing and of the knowing.

But we are like grass and the flower that withers. We have
been crowned with glory and splendor (Psalm 8). And still
that glory and splendor does not last and cannot be grasped.
We cannot find the source of our consolation in ourselves or
in the work of our hands. Only God is eternal. Only God's
promise will last.

And the Lord Yahweh is coming in power. All will be
subdued and we will be gathered in as lambs.


SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:1-11 (NRSV)
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all
her sins.

A voice cries out:
'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make
straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and
hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places
a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all
people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has

A voice says, 'Cry out!' And I said, 'What shall I cry?'
All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower
of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of
the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our
God will stand for ever.
Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good
lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of
good tidings, lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,'Here is your God!'
See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for
his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the
lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother

View all of this season's devotions at

Goshen College


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