Shower O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout. I, Yahweh, am creating it. (Isaiah 45:8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There was a day, a long time ago, when your pastor and I, the writer of this reflection, learned Hebrew. Your pastor and I also learned Church history. Both are very important for preaching, teaching, and writing devotions; but what about you? All this talk about the heavens raining and righteousness coming down? Salvation and righteousness bearing fruit and so on and so forth? What does it mean?
Jerome, one of the church fathers, wrote a long time ago that the Introit for the 4th Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 45:8) was better translated as: “let the earth open up and bring forth a Savior.” Jerome wrote that this Introit was “a prayer to the Holy Spirit to come down like dew upon the Virgin Mary so that she would conceive and bear the Savior of the Nations”; the Righteous One; Jesus Christ our Lord.
What’s even better though is that all this righteousness, which needs to be showered down on us because we were conceived and born in sin, because we are unrighteous, comes to us as the rains come to water the ground. Just as we can’t cause the clouds to form up, Just as we can’t tell the rain where to fall, the salvation that this Jesus wins, the righteousness He imparts bears fruit. God gives growth, God gives comfort, God sends the abundant rains of His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to be poured out abundantly here in His creation, for His people, for you and me. The final part, let the earth cause them to sprout; what a joy this is, because this God of ours takes heed, takes care to come to us, His people, not because we’re righteous or lovely, but to MAKE us righteous and lovely. That’s what this Father of yours did; that’s what this Christ Child did for us. He came to us, in this dry and barren land, took on our flesh and our sin to put it to death with Him that new, abundant, and overflowing streams of life-giving water would flow over you in baptism “I, Yahweh, am creating it” He’s done it FOR YOU. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to Thee O Israel. (LSB 357 O Come, O Come Emmanuel St. 1)
-Pastor Adam DeGroot is Pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Harrison Goodman.
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.