Advent: Day 5

Read Isaiah 43:1-21

Loving God, you created us in your own image. And yet we have each turned our own way. We have rebelled against your love. However, even in the midst of our sin and rebellion, you pursue us. We praise you for this, O Lord.

In the past you rescued and redeemed your children from Egypt. They passed safely through the sea and were not swallowed up. And yet they were stubborn and went their own way. You sent prophets to declare your love and to warn them. And yet they were stubborn and went their own way. Your people were taken into captivity by worldly powers who worshipped other gods (who are not really gods at all), and you rescued them. And yet they were stubborn and went their own way.

Finally, you came yourself, in the person of our Lord, Jesus Christ. You revealed yourself to us through his words and works. Jesus called people to follow him. And by your grace, some did. Yet some were stubborn and went their own way. But not before first crucifying him on a Roman cross. And yet you turned apparent defeat into a magnificent victory by using his death as a reconciling event – an atonement for sin and the defeat of death.

I praise you O Lord. You have displayed your love over and over again. You have poured out your Holy Spirit to awaken us from our rebellious and stubborn slumber, that we might have new life in Christ. Eternal life. Abundant life. Indeed, you have done a new thing and continue doing it even today. In our dark, dreary, and decaying world you sent hope. You have given us a right path to travel in the wilderness. You have given us streams of living water in the wasteland.

How good you are O God. You are the God who loves. The God who pursues his people. The one true God, for there is no other. How I praise you gracious and merciful God. When I think about the ways I have been stubborn and rebelled against you in my own life, I am truly amazed and humbled at your mercy, your patience, your persistent love. Father, please let me always be grateful that you did not stop pursuing me. Please fill me with a continual sense of awe at who you are and all you have done.

  • Father, I pray for all people, everywhere, who have not yet humbled themselves before you and given themselves to you. I do not pray this as one who is superior to them. I pray this as one who was once one of them. And it’s only by your grace I am not now where I once was. Soften their hearts O Lord, and continue to draw them to you.
  • I pray for those who have been hurt by Christians and, in response, have turned their backs on you. Please let those who have hurt them repent and seek reconciliation. And please bring other Christians into their lives who will show them your love.
  • And Lord, I pray for local churches in every community across the globe to continue faithfully representing you. To those who are hurting, in need, and broken in other ways, let local churches bring the truth and love of your Gospel of grace. Let spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational needs be met by those who have been redeemed by you. Use these opportunities to bring more and more people into a saving knowledge of your Son, Jesus Christ, and a growing, deepening relationship with you.

I ask this in the name of the One who is making all things new. Amen.

Walking Points

  • From what stubbornness and rebellion did the Lord deliver you? Share you story with someone. Are you amazed at God’s grace and love in your life? How do you express that amazement?
  • Do you find that some of that stubbornness and rebellion reappears in your life from time to time? If so, how do you deal with it when it does?
  • What “wilderness” and “wasteland” parts of your community do you need to start praying for the Lord to redeem? How can you be a part of God’s redeeming work in those areas of concern? Start praying today for God to begin that work in and through you and others.

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