Third Sunday of Advent

Is. 35:1-10

Third Sunday of Advent

The impact of a God who comes to us.

I. POETRY for DESPERATE times. (v.1-10)
A. Poetry is to “TRANSPORT” more than “TEACH”. (v.10)
B. NOTICE where the poem is LOCATED. (Chap. 34-36)
C. Look WHERE the poem INVITES you. (v.4)

This text shouldn’t be here. It doesn’t fit. Wedged into Isaiah where it sits it seems to be singing a love song in the middle of a funeral. But sometimes that is exactly what we need. Walter Brueggemann says, “Israel’s doxologies are characteristically against the data.” It’s the gift of that form of writing we call poetry.

1. Kid’s Question: If you had to write a poem about Christmas, what would it say?
2. What are your thoughts on poetry? Love it? Hate it? Take it or leave it? Do you have a favourite poem? What is it and why?

II. What “your GOD will COME” means. (v.1-10)
A. CREATION is joyfully RENEWED. (v.1-2,7; Rom. 8:19)
B. HUMANITY is restored and HEALED. (v.3-6; Mt. 11:3-5)
C. A WAY home is REVEALED. (v.8-10; John 14:6)

Embedded in the heart of this Hebrew poem is the core truth that it wants to explode upon us, “your God will come.” The poem is just painting pictures of the implications of what the arrival of God will bring about. It has far reaching implications, both in the world around us and the world within us.

3. Which of the three impacts of God’s coming speaks the most deeply to where you are in your life right now? Why is that?
4. When have you had “feeble hands” and “knees that give way”? Did God meet you in that?
5. What aspects of the “Way of Holiness” spark questions or thoughts in your own mind? How can we know if we are walking in the “way”?

III. The JOY of the WAY of Jesus. (v.8-10)
A. We WALK in it, not CREATE it. (v.8-9; Mt. 9:9)
B. Freedom from FEAR or FAILURE. (v.8-9; Phil. 1:6)
C. Overtaken by JOY as SORROW fades. (v.10; Ps. 16:11)
D. Joy – The INCARNATION will overturn our DESPERATION. (Ps. 30:11-12)

This arrival of God is marked by one other thing…a highway. Highways are difficult in the desert, the sand blows and keeps hiding them. But this one is clearly laid out, and it’s leading to a place that God wants to take His redeemed people.

6. How can you know if you are walking in the way or trying to create it on your own? Do you find that challenging?
7. Spend a few minutes reflecting on verse 10. What might God be saying to you through that right now?
8. What are some ways you can keep reminded of Joy during this coming week, no matter what comes your way?