Advent Week Three | Joy | Oak of Righteousness

oaks-of-righteousnessRest: [Take a few moments of silence. Then slowly pray these words.]

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Read: [Meditate on the scripture of the week.]

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 | Psalm 126 | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 | John 1:6-8, 19-28


Reflect: [Use this devotional thought for a moment of reflection.  Today’s devotional is written by Christi Baker.]

“And they shall be called ‘oaks of righteousness’, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 61:3

Isaiah 61 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. The prophet, Isaiah, spoke these words over the Jewish captives in Babylon. Can you imagine their excitement? Knowing that their captivity was almost over – their freedom was coming!

But the greater joy is ours…because years later, Jesus read these SAME WORDS aloud in the synagogue declaring “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:17-21).  WHHAAATT!?!?  Where Isaiah was speaking them over a captive Israel, Jesus was speaking these words of freedom to US, to every lost and broken soul that breathed or would ever breathe on earth.

The hope and joy captured in this verse takes my breath away.  Jesus announces in this scripture that He has come to cure our wounds, to deliver us from bondage, to comfort us in our sorrow – all by the power of the Holy Spirit.  But even more, he was coming as a planter, to plant US for the display of His splendor. All that Christ does for us is to make us His people, that we may be brought to glorify Him with sincere lives of righteousness, joy and freedom.  This is why He came.  This is why we celebrate Him in this advent season.

The lyrics to Oh Holy Night capture the spirit of this joy: “oh thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”  A new day dawned the night that Jesus was born and later died for us.  There is unspeakable joy available for our weary souls for Jesus has come to deliver, comfort and heal us.


FormationRespond: [Put your prayer into action throughout the day.]

Take a few minutes to listen to the song, Oh, Holy Night.  Reflect on the comfort, healing, and deliverance that Jesus has brought to your world.  Ask God to plant you deeper today, to grow you up as an “oak of righteousness,” a life on display for His glory.

 

 

 

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