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Fulfilling the joyous prophecy of Advent

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Today's bible study is Isaiah 12:5: Sing to the Lord because of the great things he has done. Let the whole world hear the news.

This joyous prophecy leads us toward the culmination of Advent, a time when Christians throughout the world are awaiting the celebration of the birth of Christ. We know that a special day is coming, and we are preparing ourselves for it with joyful and hopeful hearts and spirits.

In order to better understand and appreciate the meaning of today’s verse, please read the following passage from the Book of Isaiah: A day is coming when people will sing, “I praise you, Lord! You were angry with me, but now you comfort me and are angry no longer. God is my savior; I will trust him and not be afraid. The Lord gives me power and strength; he is my savior. As fresh water brings joy to the thirsty, so God's people rejoice when he saves them.” A day is coming when people will sing, “Give thanks to the Lord! Call for him to help you! Tell all the nations what he has done! Tell them how great he is! Sing to the Lord because of the great things he has done. Let the whole world hear the news. Let everyone who lives in Zion shout and sing! Israel's holy God is great, and he lives among his people.

Let us reflect on the coming of a new king who will be descended from David. We know that this was to be the Christ Child, yet the people at the time Isaiah made this prophecy, did not know. They did not know that the Christmas story was to occur and that Jesus was to be born.

Yet Isaiah continued to proclaim the news that a new king would be coming, that he would be a righteous king, and that his coming would bring about a time of restoration. This is quite a prophecy to have made. It goes into detail which, incredibly, comes to pass in our Lord and Savior.

We need hardly ask why God is being praised in this passage, since we already know the glory of what is to come. Yet, before the birth of Christ, Isaiah told the people to sing to the Lord. They, like us, praised God, although the new king had not yet made his presence known. They trusted in the great things that God had done in their lives and fully believed that the words of Isaiah would come to fruition.

We might ask ourselves. What great things has God done in our own lives? The answers may be as different as the number of people who try to answer this question. In many of our lives, he has given us love, compassion, empathy, goodness, forgiveness, justice, healing, rebuilding, and the promise of eternal life. We may all have moments when we find it hard to be truly thankful for much of anything, yet the glories of God surround us and are ours for the taking. We need only see, feel, listen and open our hearts to find wonder.

Finally, think a moment about this: What will you proclaim about God today? Perhaps you will thank God at a mealtime blessing for the food you are about to eat. Maybe you will feel a sense of love and thank God for your spouse, children, family or friends. You may see the smile of a child, hear the singing of a choir, or even feel the sunshine on your shoulder. Each moment of our lives, we have something, be it large or small, to proclaim the wonder of God about.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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