Prepare to Listen. As you light the 1st purple candle, pray: Now consider, we are all your people.
Prayerfully Read Isaiah 64:5-9
5You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
8Yet, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD,
and do not remember iniquity for ever.
Now consider, we are all your people.
The plea to God to tear open the heavens and come down is followed by an admission of sin (vv5-7). Israel admits that their current trouble is their own fault. They failed God big time. Yet! A tiny word, but big news, all good. “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” The LORD is our Father, our potter, says the prophet to the newly returned exiles. And the people are clay, ready to be reshaped according to God’s design. They’d been in exile for over 70 years, yet God hadn’t abandoned them forever. He was still the one in charge of shaping them into a better people by his own hand.
When we come out of lockdowns and restrictions that, at times have felt like exile, I think we can claim these words, make them our own. God is still our Father, our Potter. God is still wanting to mold us into a shape that will be better than before our coronavirus-exile. We can’t go back to the same old life. We will return to something far better—if we stand still and allow God to do God’s potter-work on our lives, while in exile and also when we return.
Because God is still our Father and Potter and we are all God’s people, we can humbly confess our longings and needs, including asking, “Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity for ever. Now consider, we are all your people” (v9).
What confession of sin do you need to make? What’s your prayer today?
Respond to Jesus
“O Father, give us a humility that realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke.” Amen. (Prayer by William Barclay)
Go live obediently in the world, cooperating with God who crafts us into something better.
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.