Reflections: Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 7:10-17

Daily Lectionary:Isaiah 40:1-17; Revelation 7:1-17

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz:“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. (Isaiah 7:10-12)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Throughout the Holy Scriptures, with few exceptions, there are two voices.  The consistent, compassionate, merciful, correcting, loving voice of Almighty God who’s always reminding His people of His great love, grace, mercy, and peace.  But there are also the voices of God’s creatures who seem to always be fighting and arguing against God, not necessarily in violent or offensive ways, at least as we’d determine violence and offense. But like ole Ahaz “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the Test”;  St. Peter’s another, whether it’s saying to Jesus “Far be it from you, Lord, this shall never come to You” (in response to Jesus saying HE MUST go to the cross) or later in Acts chapter 10:13-16 when Peter sees the vision of all the wonderful animals descending to earth. God says “Get up Peter, kill and eat.”  And Peter says no Lord, I’ve never eaten anything impure or unclean, to which God says,  “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  Peter recalls that this happened three times.  That, brothers and Sisters ought to show you just a little about the long-suffering of God for us.

We’d think then that long-suffering and patience might only be extended to nice people, like Peter. But what about the nasty people like King Ahaz the 12th King of Judah, you know, a king whose governance was considered to be disastrous to the political and religious state of Israel, never mind his offering of His own son to the false god Molech (2 Kings 16:18)?

But there’s Yahweh, speaking to, loving, and teaching Ahaz, the earthly King of the people of God. Yahweh says “Ask for a sign” and then goes on to say the equivalent of “it can be as hair-brained as you could imagine.”  But Ahaz who loved the law, not wanting or desiring to blaspheme the Name of God (1st Commandment) says, like Peter, no, I won’t do it.

What consternation we’d expect from Yahweh?  But there is none to be found. Sure there will be all sorts of terrible things that come to Judah and Israel because of the unbelief of the people, which Yahweh will send. But through it all Yahweh will send the one who will, like Jonah, be three days in the belly of the earth after being crucified for the sins of Judah, Ahaz, Peter, you, and me.

There’s a lot of voices in the Holy Scriptures; a lot of arguing, a lot of nu-uhs and no-ways from the people of God. But our Lord and God who’s been speaking from the beginning, speaks to Ahaz, to Peter, and to us that we might be comforted and consoled by the only message that’s ever mattered: “Christ Jesus, crucified for the forgiveness of your sins.” (1 Corinthians 1:23). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Yet nights will bring their sadness and rob our hearts of peace, and sin in all its madness around us may increase.  But now one Star is beaming Whose rays have pierced the night: God comes for our redeeming from sins oppressive might. (LSB 337 The Night will soon be ending St. 4)

-Pastor Adam DeGroot is Pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.