December 9, 2020, 4:00 AM

An Advent Reflection from Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food,
a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God;
we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

A preacher friend of mine once opened up a sermon with an illustration from the Beverly Hillbillies. You remember the television series? Jed Clampett –
Poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed.
Then one day he was shooting at some food,
And up from the ground come a bubbling crude,
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
Well the first thing you know old Jed’s a millionaire,
Kin folk said "Jed move away from there!"
Said, "Californy is the place you ought to be"
So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly,
Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars….

The gist of the illustration was that Jed, Granny, Jethro and Ellie Mae were given a glorious new life in the luxury of Jed’s 40-million-dollar fortune. Beverly Hills was supposed to represent the glory new life in Jesus Christ. Leaving poverty for riches. A good thought: Life in Christ is like going from rags to riches.

However, there was only one problem with the illustration: The point of the show was that the Clampetts were already far richer in their poverty when compared to the pervasive shallow, selfish materialism and greed in Beverly Hills! Besides, no one in their right mind would say, "You need to move to California."

As a nation, we are already well-to-do, especially in regard to comfort and conveniences. Compared to the rest of the world, we do exceptionally well in "things." And yet, we’re not happy people. So many people are searching for something to make them happy, but never quite get there. They look for it in wealth; in possessions; in careers; in status. But nothing seems to quite work for long. Money, power and sex are in the end, devoid of the capacity to bring, much more, sustain true happiness.

This is a lesson learned in hindsight from the Beverly Hillbillies. A silly sitcom, the unreflective take being that the hopeless rubes from Bugtussle needed to take their cue from the suave people of Beverly Hills. That was my first take as a kid. I recall one of my frustrations watching the show as a young boy was my perception that the Hillbillies couldn't get it. (Should have listened to Jethro some more. Go figure!) Couldn’t they recognize how good they had it? And now, as I look back on that show with spiritually discerning eyes, I see that I was the one who was confused about what really makes for true success and true happiness! The Clampetts demonstrated Advent faith when they professed their hope in something beyond this world of Beverly Hills evanescence. Jed's phrase, "Going to a “REEward” frames the perspective of those who know they are heading to something more real. More special. More good. That's the Advent posture in a fallen world.

Isaiah 25:6 proclaims “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.” The mountain here is Mount Zion, and Mount Zion is a nickname of sorts for the New Jerusalem (New Heavens and Earth). Isaiah was prophesying of a day when God would gather his people from the four corners of the globe for a fantastic feast.

“On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.”

May this Advent Season cause us to long for the life that God will bring on the Last Day!  And find contentment and joy in the meantime.

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