Advent Reading – December 3, 2017

Jared Yochim – Worship Design Team

Isaiah 52:7

I’ve always loved poetry. Perhaps you have too. This particular line of poetry comes from the middle of Isaiah 52 where the writer is penning jubilation. Communicating to the people the good news of restored relationship with their Creator through the promise of a Messiah. Reminding them that the God of Israel is still good and is still King despite the years of judgement for sin that the people endured during the first 40 chapters of Isaiah.

The poem alludes to a story told in 2 Samuel 18 involving a political rebellion between King David and His Son, Absalom. Due to a consequential ripple effect caused by David’s sin involving Bathsheba and Uriah, Absalom has taken it upon himself to rebel against His Father, thus sending David fleeing. The story goes that David gathered his men together for this confusing battle between him and his Son. And before the King’s army departs, David tells them to spare his Son, Absalom. This doesn’t happen. A man named Joab catches wind of Absalom getting his hair caught in a tree and plunges three javelins into Absalom’s torso. The men dispose of Absalom’s body in a pit and pile rocks on top of him.

After the dust settles, Joab appoints two men to run back to David and tell him the news of the battle’s end. First, Joab sends an unnamed Cushite to bring the news of Absalom’s death back to David. A man named Ahimaaz continues to plea with Joab that he should run too. Joab says, “But why? You have no news that will bring you a reward.” Ahimaaz responds by saying, “Come what may, I want to run.” So Joab sends Ahimaaz trailing after the Cushite.

From the city walls, a watchman gives word to David down below about the approaching messengers. David’s response is that they must both be bringing good news – a position of optimism. Through some cardiovascular miracle, Ahimaaz beats the Cushite in a foot race and approaches David saying, “All is well! Praise be to God, He has defeated the rebellion”. David rejoices and then asks, “What of my Son, Absalom?” Ahimaaz honestly responds saying that he is unsure and so the two wait for the Cushite Messenger who brings back the report of may all who rise up to harm King David end up like His Son – dead.

David is shook. And the writer goes on to tell of the ways that he grieves and mourns the death of his son. This story can be politically confusing and most readers become conflicted with which side they are supposed to cheer for. It seems like both sides lost something. So why does Isaiah reference this story in His poem regarding the Messiah? Because despite terrible tragedy and great loss, there is still a messenger bearing good news. Someone proclaiming the goodness of God through the promise of a Messiah coming out of a time of darkness. That despite David’s sin, Jesus still comes through His lineage. The messenger who wins in the end is still the one bearing hope.

So what hope do we carry with us every day? The hope and meaning of a life with Jesus. And in an increasingly confusing political world, where we are sometimes not sure which side to cheer for, when people see us running the race put before us, they should say, “These runners must be bringing good news, how beautiful are their feet.”