Tuesday, December 12
Isaiah 29:1-14 and Jude 1-25
In the movie Inception, the main character Cobb has a spinning top. In the story, his top is a “totem,” an object to show him if he is dreaming or not. When Cobb is dreaming, his top spins indefinitely. If not, the top begins to wobble before falling completely.
Amid my stresses of school and life at Concordia, the image of a top has become increasingly apt. When things go well, it feels like a top spinning smoothly. When the busy-ness accelerates, the top can begin to wobble and eventually crash.
Like Cobb, each of us may dream of how we can do everything. No commitment is too much, and long to-do lists seem achievable and good. Our pride revels in the notion that we can have and do it all. We become like those Jude writes about in verse 8, who, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. In our pride, we distrust God’s provision and grace, so we exhaust ourselves with vain tasks, thinking that our worth comes from our actions.
Isaiah writes the same of Israel: these people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me (29:13). The people of Judah enacted works of the Law for the work in itself while dishonoring the Lord. Consequently, the Lord declared judgment on them through the Assyrian siege. In fact, the innumerable tasks with which we burden ourselves can resemble the Assyrian armies: the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff (29:5).
Yet God’s judgment is not the end; He promises to come among His people. Upon His visit, the multitude of nations that fight… shall be like a dream, a vision of the night (Isaiah 29:8). In Advent, we remember that God indeed came among us in Jesus Christ through the incarnation. In His earthly work, Jesus confounded the wisdom of the wise and revealed all our pretensions as the false dreams they are. We will fail; the top will fall. In Christ’s death and resurrection, however, we are saved from the empty spinning of our lives and instead have hope of eternal life through Him.
About this series
“God With Us: the uncommon advent of our Savior” is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the CUWAA community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God’s Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound enthusiasm and anticipation through the Holy Spirit.