Editor's note: "A pandemic advent: the arrival of a Savior for all" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.
December 3 – God’s outstretched hands
Isaiah 9:8–10:11, 1 Peter 5:1–14
As we read God’s Word, we are by nature less inclined to focus on His judgment. God’s wrath is uncomfortable and humbling, and we much prefer solely to see the grace God extends to us. Today’s text, however, forces us to focus upon God’s judgment for Israel. Instead of humbling themselves before God, the Israelites believed more in themselves, were arrogant, and were prideful. Because they refused to repent, God sent their enemies to overthrow their leadership and destroy the nation.
Truth be told, we are compatriots to the Israelites. We routinely possess the same arrogance and pride within our hearts. We often think we know better, can do better, and are haughty. In Isaiah, God sends destruction to provide restoration to the Israelites. If we liken ourselves to the Israelites, what hope do we have and how do we overcome this wickedness within ourselves?
Despite God’s judgment, His hand is stretched out still (Isaiah 10:4). He provides us the solution to our wickedness and sinful nature through His Son. As we look to the birth of Christ, let us not forget the utter destruction that God’s judgment should bring upon us and that which we deserve fully. Yet just as one is tempted to reach out to grasp the tiny hand of a newborn, let us likewise embrace God’s boundless grace. Despite our wholly sinful nature, our most holy God outstretches His hands to us. Quite literally, grace comes through His outstretched hands that bore the nails and punishment for our sins on the cross.
Through the hands of our Jesus, God so graciously delivers salvation and grace through His birth, death, and resurrection. So, as you await the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world, rejoice that He has not left you desolate and destroyed because of your sin. While God’s wrath and judgment persist, we are His beloved children. He has given us new life and hope, and He promises us eternal life with Him. In this Advent season, and in every season, find indescribable love in the outstretched hands of Jesus, the Christ!
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