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Second Sunday in Advent

December 6, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Advent

Passage: Isaiah 40:1–40:11

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Isaiah 40:1-11
Date: December 6, 2020; Second Sunday in Advent; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, said, “Comfort, comfort my people. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…
  • God’s people had turned from him again. 
  • They did not live in the covenant relationship that he established with them - but instead turned to false idols and engaged in all kinds of sinful behaviour that was against what God commanded. 
  • Because of their unfaithfulness, God would discipline them by exiling them to Babylon where they would be held captive, where they would suffer great oppression and hardship and sorrow and despair.  
  • God’s people would find themselves in a similar situation to the days of when their ancestors were imprisoned in Egypt.
  • They had taken their freedom for granted. 
  • They had taken God and all of his goodness for granted.  
  • And now they were suffering terribly because of it. They had brought it on themselves.
  • We aren’t any different.
  • We also turn from God and we sin and suffer the consequences. The harm that is the result of our own sin and from those who sin against us. 
  • The harm of living in a fallen world in which there are disasters and pandemics and all kinds of trouble.
  • These experiences help us to understand the truth of Isaiah’s words, “All flesh is grass, and its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.”
  • These experiences help us to recognize that life is fragile and temporary. 
  • They help us to realize that we cannot find true peace and comfort in the things of this world because everything withers and fades.
  • But after teaching us about our temporary world and fragile lives, Isaiah proclaims that the Word of our God will stand forever.
  • He points us to what is everlasting, to what is sure and certain, to what we can always count on.
  • God’s eternal Word stands today and it speaks to us - it delivers to us - God’s comfort. God’s peace. God’s way and life.
  • Isaiah’s voice, and later John the Baptist’s voice, cry out for us to be ready: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
  • Prepare the way of the Lord. Repent. 
  • Hear the Law of God that knocks down your mountain of pride. 
  • Allow God’s Word to remove the uneven ground and rough places of your excuses, and deflecting, and blaming others for your sin.
  • Prepare the way of the Lord.
  • Have you been brought low? Are you in a valley of hopelessness and despair?
  • Prepare the way of the Lord.
  • In Christ, the glory of the Lord has been revealed and every valley is lifted up.
  • In Christ, you are lifted up from sin’s darkness and despair to God’s love and light and life!
  • The Word of our God stands forever and Isaiah teaches us how it comes to us: “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”
  • God himself comes to us! 
  • He comes with power and strength to defeat sin, death, and the devil. 
  • With power and might he destroys our enemies. 
  • But this power and might is wrapped in gentleness. 
  • He comes as a shepherd, our Good Shepherd, who tends his flock and gathers us in his arms.
  • The Good Shepherd laid down his life for us in order to save us and now the power of sin is broken and death is defeated.
  • Now we have God’s comfort. 
  • What is it to have God’s comfort and peace? 
  • Hear again Isaiah’s words: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”
  • We have God’s comfort and peace because in Christ our warfare with sin and death has ended. We have been set free from it’s captivity.
  • Our iniquity has been pardoned.
  • Our sins are no longer held against us and we are at peace with God. 
  • We are at peace with God for eternity.
“Hark, the herald’s voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Calling sinners to repentance,
Since the Kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet Him
And the hills bow down to greet Him.” (LSB #347, v.3)

More in Advent

December 20, 2020

Fourth Sunday in Advent

December 16, 2020

Midweek Advent Service

December 13, 2020

Third Sunday in Advent