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Isaiah 28:14-18 (NIV)
14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. 15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood[a] our hiding place.” 16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. 17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. 18 Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it.
In the gospels the religious leaders saw Jesus as a threat and eventually killed him. But it is hard for many of us to really understand why they would go to that extreme! One reason is that Israel had been under attack for hundreds of years. They were in the crossroads of a major trade route that empire after empire sought to control. Through those ups and downs Israel clung to its religion and rituals. However, Jesus came pointing out that though the rituals were important God cared more about truth, justice, righteousness, mercy, and love (see Isaiah 1:10-17, Matthew 9:13 and Hosea 6:6). To many of the Jewish leaders Jesus posed a threat to their very existence. How do you stop such a person? Kill them. We see something similar happen in our modern politics. Though homicide is rare, we watch while people are defamed, slandered and ridiculed. So, how do we know who whether we are allied to death or life? We use the “plumb line” of Jesus. A plumb line is a string with a weight at the end. Before our modern bubble levels, a plumb line would be used to determine if something was truly level. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. So… Are we promoting life or death? Are we seeking to help people be healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? Are we telling people that they have to be perfect, make a huge impact in the world, become powerful or make lots of money in order to matter? Or are we telling people that they are loved by God, that they are God’s children that He cares for, and that they have life and freedom in a relationship with Him? During Advent we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. Is He a threat to your status quo? Or the plumb line that helps us determine what is right, good, true, and life-giving? Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we praise you for sending Jesus to be the cornerstone of truth, righteousness, goodness, justice and love. Help us build our faith upon the foundation of His salvation and forgiveness and raise us up to give life to others as He does. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.