Prepare to Listen. Light the pink and two purple candles. Be still and pray: Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD (Is 51:1).
Prayerfully Read Isaiah 51:1-3
Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.
2Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many.
3For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places,
and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
I learned long ago that repetitions of words or phrases in Scripture usually means they’re important. requiring closer prayerful attention. Listen to me is repeated three times in Isaiah 51 (vv1, 4 and 7). I think we get the message: Listening to the Lord isn’t an optional extra!
The first call to listen is given to “you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD,” that is, those “deeply serious about faith,” says Brueggemann . This first call to listen is followed by two imperatives to look. Listen and look, says the Lord. Jews newly returned from Babylonian exile had lost everything. The land was depleted and in ruins. Looking back to their lowly origins, from one ordinary couple, Abraham and Sarah, was a reminder of God’s extraordinary power to restore the nation to a new greatness.
As we look at the devastation caused by the worst disaster most of us have experienced in our lifetime, it’s good for us to press pause and take time to listen and look, remembering that the God who helped us before the pandemic is still the same God who can perform the same miracles to bring comfort, the kind of comfort that makes new life possible for our churches, our nations, and our world. Listen and look because God will comfort and heal again.
What image in these lines connected with you today? Reflect on what the Spirit might be saying to you through that image.
Respond to Jesus
Creator God, you formed me and now call me to listen and look at what you’ve done for your people, from the beginning. Keep reminding me so that I remain firm in what you are still doing today. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Be one who keeps listening and looking.
 Brueggemann, W. Isaiah 40-66. 1998, p. 82.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.