Advent 2019 – Day 10

O Come, O Come Emmanuel: Verse/Antiphon 3

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;

From depths of hell Thy people save, and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear, but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

Isaiah 11:1-4

Just before he speaks of the coming stem/rod of Jesse, Isaiah tells of God’s coming wrath toward the Assyrians and all those who “enact evil statutes,” “record unjust decisions,” “deprive the needy of justice, and “rob the poor of [their] rights.” (Isaiah 10:1-2) On the heels of this vengeance, one might expect the rod of Jesse to be depicted as a warrior in the spirit of David, or as a glorious king in the spirit of Solomon.

Instead, the stem of Jesse comes in the Spirit of the LORD, and His character is one of wisdom, understanding, counsel, and righteous judgement.  God, Himself, has laid out a plan for vengeance on the oppressor. Now He speaks to the core need of His people – because cries for vengeance really come from the unfulfilled need for justice.

It is one thing to be victim to a wrong.  It is quite another to have no hope of recourse, to be systematically oppressed and categorically denied any sense of consideration, dignity, or fairness, to be buried in the weight of circumstances from which you have no means of escape.

What the oppressed long for most is justice. And a major component of justice, I think, is knowing that you have been heard.

There is a reason we use words like tyranny and oppression when we speak of our state of Sin.  It is one thing for us to have been wrong.  It is quite another to be unable to set things right, to be defined by our brokenness, to be buried under the inescapable weight of guilt and shame.

But God, Himself, has laid out a plan for the overthrow of our sin.  Now He sends to us the one who will stand as our advocate, mediator, and high priest that we may forever be free from the oppression of the grave.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

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