The Joyful Announcement

Today's Bible reading: Isaiah 40:1-11

Our Old Testament reading for this morning - Isaiah 40 - gives us a wonderful picture of the encouragement God gave His exiled people through the prophets.  The passage begins with the call for the exiles to be comforted.  The time of penance in captivity - the period when the rebellious nation pays for her unfaithfulness - will soon be over.  Like a messenger announcing “Here comes the king!” a voice cries, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”  God Himself is about to lead a royal procession across the desert wastes back to the holy land – as He once did, leading Israel from Egypt to Canaan.

The ruined city of Jerusalem is itself to act like a sentry - a sentinel - crying out from the heights of Mount Zion that God is coming with power.  But this power will also be the protective strength of a shepherd who gently leads his flocks, even carrying the lambs in his own arms.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as You have prepared comfort for all people through Your Son, Jesus Christ, prepare our mouths and our hearts to speak of that comfort and peace to those around us.  Breathe on us Your life-giving spirit through the faithful promises of Your Word that we may be swayed by Your mercy and bear fruit to Your glory; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.