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 51:4-6
4Listen to me, my people, and give heed to me, my nation;
for a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.
5I will bring near my deliverance swiftly, my salvation has gone out
and my arms will rule the peoples;
the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope.
6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment,
and those who live on it will die like gnats;
but my salvation will be for ever, and my deliverance will never be ended.
Listen to me. There it is again with the added punch, give heed to me. If the first call to listen (51:1) was because God will comfort, this second call is because God’s teaching and justice has gone out as a light to the people. God’s teaching isn’t an entertaining lecture on YouTube. It’s about God’s work of deliverance that will rejoice some and anger others and thus requires discipline to listen to it. The promise from Isaiah is that God will bring in a new rule, one of justice for all, one that will swiftly bring near my deliverance, my salvation and my arms (meaning, power). Those seeking to hold onto power, maintain the status quo, and keep people doing things their way will not want God’s deliverance. It will anger them. Those in need, the oppressed, the marginalized and those who humbly give up their personal wishes and relinquish desire for power over others, will rejoice when the Lord’s full redemption comes. And it will come to all creation, not an elect few.
Listen to me, says the Lord, not to the voices of politicians, news media, movies, etc. The voices of society will influence how we think and live; they give us a meta-narrative that, too often, has little to do with the gospel of Jesus. It takes discipline to refuse to be molded by mass media and instead be molded by God as we obey his command: Listen to me in order to be transformed in God’s way by God’s Story.
A question to ponder, as we listen to the Lord, is this: Am I willing to set aside my agenda, my political issues, my needs and wants, and submit to God’s rule that will be very different to what the world has to offer?
Respond to Jesus
Keep my ear attuned, O Lord, to your voice in the midst of the many noisy voices around me today. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world and remind yourself to listen to the Lord.
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.