Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Isaiah 26:7-9 (NIV)
7 The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. 8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. 9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.
When Jacinda and I moved back to Illinois from Lodi, California, we packed up all our stuff into a small U-Haul trailer and my dad and I pulled it across the country behind our small SUV. As we began winding our way up into the Sierra Nevada mountains we found the road was marked with signs to guide us when curves were coming and warn when the grade of a hill would be steep. While we had to slow at times, the travel was easy because a path was cleared for us. God does something similar with his “judgments” and laws. Just like a sign on a road that tells us to slow down or watch for a sharp curve ahead, God’s laws help guide and direct us so that we have better, safer, and more fulfilling lives. But those laws are not the reason we are traveling. My dad and I were not driving just to drive (though the scenery was beautiful!). We had a destination. Jacinda and I, with the recent addition of our daughter Stella, were starting a new chapter in our lives at Shepherd of the Hills. In our journey of life the rules that God gives us are not the main thing. They direct and instruct, but the main thing is the destination: God! Verse 9 of this passage says, “My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you”. Christmas points out that we cannot get to God on our own. Jesus has made a way for us (John 14:6)! The cross is the path that we travel in faith. The cross is God’s judgment against sin. It is where we receive forgiveness and a new life as a child of a loving Father. Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help us to follow the path that you have paved through the cross and resurrection of your Son, Jesus. Give us a steadfast desire to trust Him and wait on Him. Prepare the way of righteousness in our hearts this Advent. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.