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December 14 | Isaiah 42:1-9

DAILY READING:


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REFLECTION


The Song of Sovereignty

by Dan Kidd


Would you like to know what God’s sovereignty looks like? You’d be hard-pressed to find a passage of Scripture that better illustrates it than today’s, from Isaiah. The scene is set in chapter 41, where we’re to imagine Yahweh issuing notice to every nation that they will join in a global tribunal, where the Lord will hear from them and their so-called-gods. There, standing before every tribe and nation, Yahweh inquires, “Who do you think has been the one acting in power, meting out justice, and writing the history of the world—generation after generation—since the beginning? [paraphrased]” He answers, “I, the LORD—with the first of them and with the last—I am he.”


“Present your case,” the Lord continues,


Tell us, you idols, what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; whoever chooses you is detestable.


As it turns out, none of these nations or idols find it fit to respond. Thus begins today’s passage, where Yahweh points to his servant, his beloved Israelites, and proceeds to lay out his plan for the future of the world. Israel, chosen by God’s pleasure and gifted with his Spirit, would mete out the Lord’s justice throughout the earth—returning all creation to shalom.


What was decidedly unclear to Isaiah’s first audience, Judah’s exiles in Babylon, was how surprisingly and splendidly the Lord intended to play out this promise. Out of Israel, from the line of David, would come a young mother, and God would knit himself together in her womb and grow to become the King of kings and declare in truth and power “the Kingdom has come!” We see now that Kingdom breaking in whenever light tears through the darkness, or hope springs from desolation; whenever the blind see again and the prisoners throw off their cuffs; every moment God is Immanuel and when mercy and justice are done—these are the prizes of Christ Jesus—proclaimed all those centuries ago.


Everything has happened, and continues to happen, just as the Lord said it would. How now do we respond to our sovereign God—composer of the universe? Verse 10, “Tell the whole world to sing a new song to the Lord!” Even though this proclamation came hundreds of years before Christ was born, God's people were invited into singing the anthems of his victory. And though we wait for the Kingdom to come in full, we too can sing.


This Advent season, let us join the world in singing another new song to the Lord. Belt the melody of praise for his faithfulness and harmonize in the beauty of God’s Kingdom at hand. Christ has come! Alleluia!


 

PRAYER PRACTICE


Pray in Song: "One who sings prays twice." Spend several minutes praying to the Lord in song. You might pick one of your favorite Christmas hymns (old or new), or begin to write a song of praise on your own. Listen to, or sing, a verse and a chorus, and then form a prayer to the Lord from those lyrics. Repeat this order throughout the song.



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