Quick Backdrop
Advent. Some church traditions observe an Advent season while others do not. Regardless of your tradition, the season of Advent is an opportunity to filter out the busyness and distractions of the Christmas season and to do what the word advent implies: celebrate the first coming of Jesus while we wait for His second coming. Yet it’s more than simple celebration. It’s a party of gratitude for what the coming of Jesus does to us and for us now and in the future.
The What
The Book of Isaiah contains many sections that anticipate the coming of the Messiah. One section in particular, Isaiah 35:5-7, paints a vivid picture of what to expect with the coming of Jesus. The passage is noted below. You may want to print it to best notice all the detail. As you read the passage:1. Underline anything that describes something bad or a bad situation.
2. Circle anything that describes something good out of the bad.”Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow” (Isa. 35:5-7).

The So What
Use the questions below to help internalize the words of Isaiah 35:5-7.
• How many analogies do you see in this passage?
• What is the common sequence in each analogy?
• What big point is God getting across in this passage?

Putting into Practice
Here is some good news. We get to live in an era to which these verses were pointing toward, an era that gets to enjoy the benefit of Jesus’ first coming. The questions below are designed to personalize the analogies in Isaiah 35:5-7. Thoughtfully and prayerfully consider each question. Journal any responses that come to your heart and mind as you consider the questions.

• What blind spots (temptations) continue to snag you?
• To what wise counsel have you not been listening?
• In what ways have you been limping along in your faith?
• How has your tongue been silent in praising God?
• How have you felt distant from God?
• In what ways has your devotional life been dry?
• In what ways has your prayer life been dry?
• How have you neglected your spiritual growth?

By living in the era between Jesus’ first and second comings, we get to experience the restoration and redemption that Jesus has made available to us through His first coming. Read Isaiah 35:5-7 again, meditating on the verses in light of the fact that it is describing all that we get to experience through Jesus.

Now Do This
For each question that you responded to above, write down how transformational redemption can look in your life. For example, review your answer to the question about how you’ve been limping along in your faith. What needs to happen so you can experience the transformation of Isaiah 35 and your faith can be described as “leaping like a dear”?

Use this Advent season to experience the transformational redemption Jesus wants to do in your life. Make this season less about busyness and shopping and more about the adventure of redemption and restoration.

About The Author

Tim Baker has been working with students for twenty-five years. He's the author of over twenty books, a professor of Biblical Studies and Youth Ministry at LeTourneau University, Director of Student Ministries at Trinity Episcopal Church in Longview Texas. Tim is the Executive Editor of YouthWorker Journal. @timbaker1

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