An Advent Journey: When God Became Small — Day Thirteen


Isaiah 4:2-6, the Message

And that’s when God’s Branch will sprout green and lush. The produce of the country will give Israel’s survivors something to be proud of again. Oh, they’ll hold their heads high! Everyone left behind in Zion, all the discards and rejects in Jerusalem, will be reclassified as “holy”—alive and therefore precious. God will give Zion’s women a good bath. He’ll scrub the bloodstained city of its violence and brutality, purge the place with a firestorm of judgment.

Then God will bring back the ancient pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and mark Mount Zion and everyone in it with his glorious presence, his immense, protective presence, shade from the burning sun and shelter from the driving rain.

It seems the prophet Isaiah likes the idea of ‘glory’ a lot himself! This is a familiar Advent text, so I’m glad I chose to read it in an unfamiliar translation/paraphrase. “God’s branch will sprout green and lush. . . ” 

Yes, indeed! Sprout, it did, in the person and work of Jesus the Messiah. And this passage, in many ways looks forward to the ongoing work of that Messiah in the lives and hearts of people. At some point, we will see the glory of God, live and in person — “his immense, protective presence . . .” as shade and shelter.

Shade and shelter — something I crave whenever the sun is beating down on me. And I love this word picture here — that God, our great and glorious God, is available to us as exactly that: shade and shelter.

Right about now, Lord, I could use a goodly dose of both! So thank you for your promised presence and for your generous gift of what I need, when I need it. 

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  1. Shade and shelter . . . Yes! God gives us exactly what we need, doesn’t He? And I love the way The Message translates these verses. I’m definitely going to get a copy of The Message as soon as I can.
    Blessings, Diana!

    • And blessings to you, Martha! Thanks so much for the daily words of encouragement. And you will LOVE The Message. You’ll still want to read your favorite version (whatever one you like best), but it’s rich to see his insights and expertise in this really well-done paraphrase. He works from the original languages – in fact, he used to teach them before he became a pastor and an author. So it’s closer to a translation than many people think it is.

  2. I cannot imagine what that moment will be like, when “we will see the glory of God, live and in person – his immense, protective presence.” As if that isn’t enough, John says, “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). No words exist to describe the elation of such realities! (Keep me mindful, Lord, that I might keep earthly cares in perspective.) And thank you, Diana, for shining a few beams of God’s glory on us today!