2021 Advent Devotions

Isaiah 42:10-18 | December 18, 2021

Sing to the Lord a New Song!
by Emily Sumner

Sing to the Lord a new song!

What a refreshing call to action after a difficult almost-two years now for our society and world.

In verses 10-12 of this passage, everyone is called to worship God: “Let the cliff dwellers sing; from the top of the mountains let them shout” (v. 11). The next verses in the passage say that God will “go out like a soldier…over enemies he will prevail” (v. 13) and that God will “make the blind walk a road they don’t know,” and “make darkness before them into light and rough places into level ground” (v. 16).

I find this passage (and most of Isaiah) very comforting. But it’s interesting that the writer calls us to worship, and then explains what God will do. We are called to take action (worship and praise) based on faith, not necessarily in reaction to what God has already done or provided. In fact, God does not promise that the path forward will be comfortable or that we will see exactly what’s coming. A blind person being led down an unfamiliar path would likely be nervous, unsure of their footing, and must fully trust the person leading them. This passage does not assure us the ability to fully see what’s coming, or to navigate the path of life ourselves. Instead, the passage reassures us that if we have faith and trust in God, God will safely lead us and clear obstacles for us. In addition, towards the end of the passage, we are reminded not to worship idols: “Turned backwards, utterly shamed are those who trust in idols” (v. 17). How easy it is to focus our time, energy, and sometimes seemingly even worship on the “idols” of our age—including but not limited to busyness, productivity, pursuit of wealth for the sake of wealth, etc.

As we continue this Advent journey, and the journey into the new year, let us remember to worship and praise God for all that God has done, but also for all that God will do through us and for us, as we act in faith.