Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old.
We begin the season of Advent with this prayer from Isaiah.
Isaiah’s prayer begs for the Lord’s return. In his prayer, even as our prayers often go, he wonders about the wrong in the world, the failure of God’s people to listen. He recounts the corruption that has made them unworthy, perhaps only worthy of abandonment, carried away like the wind. He recognizes that God was right to turn His face away from them. Just before getting to final despair, Isaiah recalls God’s Fatherhood to Him. Isaiah reminds God that we are the work of His hands and ends his prayer with hope.
The Corinthian Church was called to be the redemptive fellowship known as Church – the body of the saved offering hope to the world while expecting Jesus’ return. This is who we are too. We are to recognize our changed focus, from eyes cast down and living a hopeless existence to eyes looking up, preparing by building the kingdom, calling the unsaved, and offering Jesus’ hope as we expect His return.
Paul reminds us that Jesus has enriched us in every way, that we are not lacking in any spiritual gift and that as we expectantly wait, He will keep us firm to the end.
Isaiah’s pre-Jesus prayer is hopeful for overcoming. Paul, living in Jesus’ reality, reminds us that we hold the hope that overcomes all things.
Advent is the message of hope needed right now. We are reminded of that hope and our duty to offer it. The darkness, despair, and abandonment felt throughout these many months, the feeling that we are being carried away like the wind, is strong in many hearts and minds. As such, we must offer each other the reassurance of the hope we have and teach the worldly that there is a hope that overcomes. All need that reassurance of hope.
Today we move from the contemplation of the last things, the end times, to hope filled expectation. Indeed, the Lord has told us to be ready for His return looking forward to that moment when He will break through.
The answer to Isaiah’s prayer came in Jesus and continues in our redemptive fellowship, our being Church. We are Jesus’ breaking through and offering of hope to the world. For that purpose we have been changed. We stand in charge, each with our own kingdom task – to offer hope, for soon the Lord will break through in power and glory, light, and peace. May He find us expectantly waiting and offering the hope found in His name alone.