Attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 - 1669 ), Angel Standing, , pen and brown ink on laid paper, Widener Collection

Grace Written Upon Our Hearts

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
[Jeremiah 31:31-34]
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Auguste Renoir, Woman with a Cat, French, 1841 - 1919, c. 1875, oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin E. Levy

The Peaceable Kingdom

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.
[Isaiah 11:6-9] Continue reading

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853 - 1890 ), Roses, 1890, oil on canvas, Gift of Pamela Harriman in memory of W. Averell Harriman

A Shoot Shall Come Out from the Stump of Jesse

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall 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.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
     or decide by what his ears hear;…
[Isaiah 11:1-3]

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Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 - 1669 ), Abraham's Sacrifice, 1655, etching and drypoint, Rosenwald Collection

All Peoples of Earth Will Be Blessed Through You

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son,  I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” [Genesis 22:15-18] Continue reading

Workshop of Master of the Aachen Madonna, The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, 1460/1480, metalcut, hand-colored in green, red lake, and yellow, Rosenwald Collection

Light in the Midst of Darkness

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Continue reading

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Today marks not only the beginning of Advent, our season of preparation for the coming of Christ, but also the beginning of the church calendar. In churches and homes all across the world, candles on Advent wreaths will be lit for hope. Thus, the beginning of our church year is marked by hope in the coming of Christ.

Today’s devotion comes in video form, as the children of Westminster share the story of Isaiah’s peaceable kingdom. May these children lead you in hope as you hear this story anew.

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