Love, the focus of this second week of the Christmas season, is much maligned and increasingly defined by the person using the word. To be a follower of Jesus is to affirm that any definition of love must place its foundation in the Bible’s record of God and His loving/redemptive plan for our salvation. (Rom. 5:8)
Hundreds of years before Jesus is born, the prophet Isaiah is speaking to people who have broken lives, who are looking for comfort. The description of love in our reading today is aimed at folks who have lost hope in life. The prophet is encouraging people who have faced crises, typified by the deserts, hills, mountains and valleys of life. (Vs. 3-5) The prophet is talking to people who have a very dim view of life and see it through a fatalistic attitude that believes, “if something can go badly, it will certainly go badly for me.” (vs. 6-7)
To those who have experienced the tragic realities of life that Isaiah describes, the promise is that God not only comes with might and power, but care and compassion. (vs. 10-11) That’s really good news for every person who has had rough spots in their life. They feel as if all the breaks have gone to someone else. To overcome that tragedy Isaiah says that there is more than enough “might” to carry the day.
The children that ChildHope serves are described by our reading today. They are viewed by many as mere “grass”, fragile, dependent and worth very little. But the “Lord God comes with might” (v 10) to give them a lift up from the tragedy of their lives. They may have shattered by tough circumstances, but now receive compassion that is described as the tender care that protects with personal and individual attention. The combination of might and compassion is exactly what occurs in a ChildHope school every day. The affirmation that Jesus is the only power that can set people free: coupled with the truth that the mighty God is also a Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, is something every child needs to know. The truth of God’s love this Christmas season compels ChildHope to offer compassion, education and above all transformation.
Vice President, ChildHope
Prayer: O Lord, there are days that we all feel like dried up grass. We simply faint because we have nothing to sustain us. Thanks for being Mighty and thanks for your compassion. We need your power and your tenderness in the middle of our broken lives.
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 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.
3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 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.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 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.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.