First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 1:21-2:5

First Sunday of Advent

Hope – A Vision of a Coming Hope

I. A CONTEXT much like ours TODAY. (1:21-31)
A. A CONTINUAL downward TRAJECTORY. (v.21-23)
B. The WEAK suffer, the POWERFUL don’t care. (v.23)
C. REDEMPTION will come through God’s JUSTICE. (v.24-27)
D. It will not CONTINUE in this WAY. (v.27-31)

One of the key lessons of Advent is that while we live later chronologically than our friends in the Biblical text, there is much that we have in common with them. The message that Isaiah gave to the people describes a world that in many ways resembles our modern 21st century.

1. Kid’s Question: What do you know about Advent? What is it like for you?
2. In what ways does the “darkness” of our current society weigh on you? Does the reality that Isaiah was facing seem similar?

II. A VISION of a different FUTURE. (2:1-4)
A. God will ESTABLISH His TEMPLE. (v.2; I Pet. 2:4-5)
B. LEARNING a new WAY of life. (v.3)
C. A new STANDARD for JUSTICE. (v.3-4)

The other lesson of Advent is that despite the darkness that we see all around us, even a small candle can bring hope that things will change. This is a needed message in our world filled with grasping and taking, exploitation and misuse of power. Things are not always going to be this way…one day, the truth will come to light.

3. When looking at the elements of Isaiah’s vision, which aspect is the most appealing to you and why?
4. If someone asked you to help them “learn the ways” of God, what would that mean to you? What would you help them learn?
5. How does the Biblical idea of Justice differ from what is often meant by that word today? What actions might justice call you to in your life this week?

III. Hope: Living HERE…looking THERE. (2:5; 2 Cor. 4:18)
A. A call to WALK in the LIGHT. (v.5; I Jn 1:7)
B. The CENTRALITY of God’s PRESENCE. (v.3-4; Ps. 89:15-16)
C. The TRUST in God’s PROMISE. (v.2; Ps. 145:13)

The call is to live in the darkness with the hope of that light…the light that is the presence and truth of God who created us and will renew us into His image. He will make all things new. The waiting is a challenge, but in the midst of the struggle we look toward the light of what God has promised.

6. Describe the darkness you feel a longing for God’s hope to enter into during this Advent season. Offer that up in prayer to God.
7. How often throughout the course of the day are you aware of God’s presence with you? How might you become more attentive to that at points throughout the day?
8. Make a list of how God has been faithful to you in the past? Does that help you totrust for the future?