advent week 4 – future hope

Today we are looking at a passage from Isaiah, chapter 52, verses 7-10. 

How beautiful on the mountains

    are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,

the good news of peace and salvation,

    the news that the God of Israel reigns!

The watchmen shout and sing with joy,

    for before their very eyes

    they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem.

Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song,

    for the Lord has comforted his people.

    He has redeemed Jerusalem.

The Lord has demonstrated his holy power

    before the eyes of all the nations.

  All the ends of the earth will see

    the victory of our God.

One thing I love about the Old Testament is that we get to learn about the character of God. Time and time again, God promises He will take care of Israel, and he does, and then their moron-idiot brains get themselves into trouble, and as always, God rescues them. The context of this passage is this: Israel is in shambles. They have been exiled to Babylon for multiple generations, and there’s no end in sight. During this, we have God (through the prophet Isaiah) bringing them hope. Their immediate hope was a return to Jerusalem out of exile. However, the greater hope they discovered (as prophesied in chapter 53) is that hope is coming, and his name is Jesus.

In the crazy Christmas season, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment right before us. For some of us, this is a challenging season. For others, it may not be so bad. Regardless, how can we go through this season in the most Christlike and God-honoring way possible? 

The answer is this: We give the people around us hope. More specifically, we provide them with the hope of Jesus through encouragement. We must trust God enough to rise above our situations, elevate our perspective, and love others. We are to point them to the future, remind ourselves of God’s promises, and reflect on what He has already done for us. Remember, Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) says: 

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. 

My pastor once told me: “I don’t know anyone who quit because they were encouraged.” Such a simple thought–but think about that. Who in your life needs to be encouraged today? Well, probably you! But also, I’m willing to bet a few folks come to your mind right now. I’m also willing to bet that encouraging someone else will be an encouragement to you as well! 

How can you be an encouragement to someone today? Are you wondering who you can encourage? You can encourage your spouse, kids, family, leaders, direct reports, peers, or anyone! If you’re not a words person, buy a gift card to a coffee shop and just say, “I notice how hard you’re working. You’re doing a good job.” 

Here is an encouragement for you, friend: God has called you to this team, to this mission, for a time such as this. You are the right person for the job. God has given you the tools, hours of the day, and resources needed to complete the job. Some people need a touch from God. They depend on you and your skill sets to help them see the face of Jesus. You are blessed because God has made you a blessing.

Need some community and prayer during this time? Reach out to us and let us know how we can pray for you, your family, your team, and your church this holiday season!

Jake Cody

Jake Cody

Jake is the Senior Production Manager at Bayside Church in Sacramento, CA. In his role, he oversees production for all Bayside campus events, conferences, and initiatives globally. Jake has a huge heart for ministry and serving his team as well as the people who come to any Bayside event. Jake’s primary areas of focus at Bayside include fostering healthy worship and production team culture, building systems that serve the organization by being extremely reliable and flexible, and enabling communicators to be as creative and God-inspired as possible.

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MAY 7-8, 2024