Advent: Thursday of First Week


  • Morning
    • Isaiah 10.24-34 (11.1-10)
    • Mark 2.23–3.12
    • Psalms 15–17
  • Evening
    • Isaiah 13.1–14.2
    • Revelation 9
    • Psalms 15–17


Judgment against Assyria (Isa 10.24-34)

YESTERDAY’S READINGS REMINDED Jerusalem and Judah that God was using international armies as his own battle club and axe (Isa 10.5, 15). Now “the LORD of Heaven’s Armies” tells his people not to fear the Assyrians. In Moses’s time, God dealt with the Egyptians and ended Israel’s slavery; in Gideon’s times, he delivered Israel; and he will do it yet again (Isa 10.24-27). God will take care of them just as he had the “Egyptians did long ago” (10.24); the day was coming when “the LORD will end the bondage of his people” (10.27). The same God that delivered his people in the times of Moses and Gideon would do it again (10.26). Nonethless, Isaiah tracks the Assyrian campaign that relentlessly closes in on Jerusalem (vv. 28-34).

Assyrian Campaigns against Israel and Judah

Then Isaiah turns to some hope: “Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will chop down this mighty tree of Assyria” (10:33). Perhaps this refers to Assyria’s demise in 612 BC, but well before that, the Angel of the Lord destroyed most their army before they could conquer Jerusalem and Judah (701 BC, cf. 37:36).

And the prophet declares the same kind of judgment against Babylon, another empire he used then judged (Isa 13.1–14.1). Then he continues with wide ranging announcements of international judgments that can mean salvation for Jacob (Isa 14.1-2): Judgment against Babylon’s king (vv. 3-23), Assyria (vv. 24-27), Philistia (vv. 28-32), Moab (15.1–16.14), Damascus and Israel (ch. 14), Ethiopia (ch. 18), Egypt (ch. 19), Egypt and Ethiopia (ch. 20), Babylon (21.1-10), Edom (vv. 11-12), Arabia (vv. 13-16)—and Jerusalem! (ch. 22)—then on to Tyre (ch. 23), and the whole earth (ch. 24).

A Branch from David’s Line (Isa 11:1-10)

Judgment against the nations carries over into hope for restoration, for a new Davidic empire:

David and Goliath
“David and Goliath,” Osmar Schindler

Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

— Isaiah 11:1-2

This will be a kingdom where justice reigns (vv. 3-5), where shalom prevails (vv. 6-9), and where the messianic kingdom means not only a restored remnant of Israel, but salvation for the nations:

10 In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time
to bring back the remnant of his people—
those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt;
in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam;
in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands.

Isaiah 11:10–11 (NLT)


O Lord, hear my plea for justice.
Listen to my cry for help.
Pay attention to my prayer,
for it comes from honest lips.
Declare me innocent,
for you see those who do right.

You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.
You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong.
I am determined not to sin in what I say.
I have followed your commands,
which keep me from following cruel and evil people.
My steps have stayed on your path;
I have not wavered from following you.

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
By your mighty power you rescue
those who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
from murderous enemies who surround me.
10 They are without pity.
Listen to their boasting!
11 They track me down and surround me,
watching for the chance to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart—
like young lions hiding in ambush.

13 Arise, O Lord!
Stand against them, and bring them to their knees!
Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!
14 By the power of your hand, O Lord,
destroy those who look to this world for their reward.
But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones.
May their children have plenty,
leaving an inheritance for their descendants.
15 Because I am righteous, I will see you.
When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.

A prayer of David. (Psalm 17)

Author: Dale A. Brueggemann

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