Day 4 of Advent 2020

On that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgement and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a Flaming Fire by night. Indeed, over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Isaiah 4:2-6

Immediately prior to this passage, Isaiah talks about the disintegration of society in and around Jerusalem as the result of war and conflict, but also as a result of the people abandoning God. People may have asked “where is God in this disaster” and Isaiah is quick to reply that God has not abandoned his people, however black the situation may seem. He is in the midst of it, binding up the broken-hearted and washing away their dirt and their disgrace.

The concept of remnant is important to Isaiah. Many have been lost to the true faith, just as many have been lost in battle. A faithful few remain. They will be called holy (v3), set apart, dedicated to God. In our world today, as we talk also about the disintegration of society and the natural and unnatural disasters which we face, we are called to be a holy and distinctive people. Jesus calls us to be salt and light – purifying and improving the world in which we live. We are called to make a difference in the lives of those around us and pray for those beyond our horizons. In this season, we remember that it is not the powerful and wealthy who can change the world, but it is the incarnate Jesus Christ, born in a stable – through him we see the glory of God and through him we are called to be holy.

Let’s pray: Lord God, we thank you that you call us to be holy, your children. Use us, we pray, to shed light in darkness, to build up the broken hearted and to glorify your name. Amen.

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