BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 3-5
Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).
GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.
Key Verses: Isaiah 4:2
In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.
Isaiah 3 could be depressing if not for the promise of our key verse. The actual destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians was still over 100 years away, but on the road to destruction (the people’s fault, not God’s) there would be famine, incompetent and corrupt leaders, chaos and gross sin.
The warnings in Chapter 4 give way to messages of hope. At some future time, Zion will prosper under the beautiful reign of “The Branch.” This is a term which refers to the rule of the “Messiah.” As Christians, we believe that “Branch-Messiah” is Jesus, whose birth we celebrate!!!
In Chapter 5 the word “woe” is repeated 6 times. The “woe” of “intoxicating drink” is referenced twice! Let’s pay attention to that one and act accordingly this Christmas. Other woes are selfishness, greed, materialism, the reversing of standards of behaviour, pride and injustice. “Woe” is the result of rejecting the Covenant, a most solemn and binding legal agreement, made between God and the human family. Jesus was born to turn “woe” into something “beautiful, glorious…excellent and appealing!” (Isaiah 4:2). God came to us, as Elizabeth, the cousin of the Virgin Mary said, “to take away my reproach!” (Luke 1:25). Click here to read Luke, chapters 1 & 2 on Christmas Eve.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, may I perceive the beauty and glory of “The Branch of the Lord” in all the fulness of His Person. May I, because of Your redemption, make the fruit of the earth, the redeemed of the Lord, more beautiful and appealing to others. Through Jesus Christ, I pray that I will daily run farther and farther away from sin, escaping forever from its clutches! In Your all-powerful Name I pray, Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
In Isaiah 5:1 the prophet gives some personal words from God! “Let Me sing for My well-beloved a love song.” As I type these words, Norma-Jean is still sleeping, but when she awakes I’m inspired to sing her a love song. It will be our favourite called, “Unforgetable.” Singer Nat King Cole sang it so beautifully, and I’ll be a poor excuse for his voice, but It’s the thought that counts.
I remember childhood Christmases. I have such warm thoughts of the wood fire in the box stove and the little candles clipped onto the freshly cut Christmas tree branches, which gave light in the parlour. Yes, the flames near the branches could’ve been dangerous, but the tree was fresh (cut and decorated Christmas Eve), and we were careful. We’ve proven that we can, if necessary, get along without electricity, but we know for sure that we cannot get along without the One born in Bethlehem, whose birth we celebrate. He is “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles.” I’m one of them! He is my “Light!” (Luke 2:32a).
Yours in “beautiful and glorious” celebration of Christ’s birth!
P.S. In the picture below, I’m on the roof of the Bethlehem City Hall. We’re overlooking Manger Square. What is perhaps the world’s tallest (artificial) Christmas tree was in the process of being decorated when we took this photo on November 25th. Directly over the top of the tree is the Church of the Nativity. The cave/stable where Jesus was born is just underneath the church. The continuity of the families of the shepherds and the relatives of Joseph make this spot believable. Do you see the red roof next door to the Nativity Church? That’s St. Catherine’s Church. You may see midnight Mass from there on Christmas Eve as this service is carried every year around the world on TV. Also, click here for #4 in the TV specials I hosted from Bethlehem. They are being carried on YES TV Monday through Friday this week at 10:30 p.m.