Advent Devotion for Monday, December 9

By Sam Fink

Read Isaiah 11:1-5

Isaiah made a career out of writing Messianic prophecy, and these five verses are some of his best work.  He gives us a picture of a Messiah in the line of David who will reign in righteousness, judging by his own standards, not the world’s.

Isaiah used a great recent victory over Assyria as a jumping-off point to expound on the Lord’s saving grace. Just as an angel of the Lord was sent to save Israel, God’s people would be rescued by another sort of savior. As he lists the remarkable characteristics of our deliverer, it is clear that he is deliberately describing Christ as someone who will exceed any human expectation.

Somehow, even with Isaiah’s intentional account, explaining to me that “Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins,” I find myself failing to recognize Him as the awesome God that He is.

Instead of Jesus’ Spirit of wisdom and understanding, I lean too heavily on my own conclusions.  Instead of Christ’s Spirit of counsel and might, I rely on earthly sources to explain things to me.  Instead of his Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, I act as if there aren’t answers to my questions.  My only kernel of hope for myself comes in the knowledge that He “will not judge by what His eyes see, or decide disputes by what His ears hear.”

If we were to paint our own picture of what our Savior should be, we would almost certainly fall short, forgetting that we have a God who will always go beyond our expectation. The Messiah that Isaiah describes is much bigger than our capacity to understand Him.  He is much bigger than our ability to serve Him, or to fail to serve Him.

This Advent, we should find great comfort in the knowledge that a just and faithful God has sent His only Son our Lord Jesus Christ to save us, not by any effort of our own, but by His incredible, unique, and unconditional love.

We pray: Father, we pray for the same Spirit with which You blessed Your Son Jesus.  We pray for wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.  Lord, help us to remember that You are our strong and just savior, but also our Emmanuel, our God with us.  Maintain in us the knowledge that You have offered us unconditional love and grace, and that even with our daily failures, You have freely and lovingly offered us salvation. Amen.