By Brooke Holt
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
What makes your heart sing? Does your heart rejoice when you see a beautiful sunrise, watch your child play, finish a work project, or take a long-awaited vacation? As Isaiah penned these words, his heart sang a hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord. He sang with passion for God’s salvation, even before that salvation was fulfilled. These words were a foretelling of what would come for Judah. The first eleven chapters of Isaiah focused on Judah’s unfaithfulness and coming judgment. God warned that their judgment would come through the uprise of a foreign army.
Those foreign armies did come as promised. When King Ahaz saw the threat of those foreign armies surrounding him, he looked for salvation in an earthly army. Instead of looking to the Lord for his help, he sought the help of the Assyrians. The Assyrians seemed like the logical and easy fix to King Ahaz’s needs, but they ended up conquering Judah and taking God’s people into exile.
Thankfully, God promised never to leave nor forsake his people, and the Lord never breaks a promise. God allowed his people to suffer the consequences of their rebellion and disobedience; however, that would not be the end of God’s chosen nation. God called Abraham, and the Israelites were his chosen people. He set his love upon them not based on who they were or what they would do but according to his divine plan.
This divine plan always has hope. God spoke that hope into his people even before their conquest and exile. He assured them of what would follow their time in exile. God would bring them back to the land, he would restore them, and he would be their God and their salvation. What a contrast this would be—the true salvation of God instead of the false salvation of the Assyrians. Twice Isaiah states that God is the means of salvation, and the verse begins and ends with this declaration.
King Ahaz looked to the surrounding nations for salvation in his distress. What about you? As you face challenges and struggles in this world, do you look to earthly leaders for your salvation? Do you seek refuge in social media, television, or hobbies? There are many false offerings of salvation in this world. Nevertheless, true salvation is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is the source of your strength, and who is the subject of your songs?
May you join Isaiah in the song of salvation, looking to the mighty name of Jesus, the only true Savior. He is your strength, hope, and joy. Every other option will fail you.
Spend some time allowing God to search your heart. Where do you turn in times of challenges and trials? Are you looking to the Lord and trusting in him to find true salvation? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Christmas is the festival of rejoicing at Christ’s first coming—the beautiful, unlikely start of our salvation! As the season ends each year, we pack up the decorations. Advent, on the other hand, is a bigger celebration—one we can’t box up and store in the attic. It celebrates the grace of Christ’s first coming, and then it reaches with restless anticipation for the fuller grace of his second appearing and the completion of our salvation! For 28 days, celebrate Advent. In Prepare the Way, join with St. Paul, King David the Psalmist, Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, along with the crowds as they rejoiced in the good news of Christmas, and then look beyond it for the holiday that never ends!
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