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Advent Day 5

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Waiting...

Scripture: Psalm 74:1-12

O God, why have you rejected us forever?
    Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
 Remember the nation you purchased long ago,
    the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—
    Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
    all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.

Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
    they set up their standards as signs.
 They behaved like men wielding axes
    to cut through a thicket of trees.
They smashed all the carved paneling
    with their axes and hatchets.
They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
    they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”
    They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.

We are given no signs from God;
    no prophets are left,
    and none of us knows how long this will be.
 How long will the enemy mock you, God?
    Will the foe revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
    Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!

But God is my King from long ago;
    he brings salvation on the earth.

Devotional:  When reading this Psalm, can’t you just hear the desperation and the longing of those who have endlessly waited for deliverance?  The psalmist recalls God’s sovereignty and promise, and his belief that, despite the suffering around them,  God would ultimately prevail. 

The declaration that God would bring salvation on the earth is a timeless one.  And no matter what century in which one lives, this has been true from the beginning of creation.

It’s important as we anticipate celebrating the birth of Christ, that we also take time to consider the long awaited Jesus.  A favorite Christmas hymn reflects this:

Come thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Give thanks today that you live on the other side of God’s promise.  And that consolation, salvation, and hope is here.  You need not wait. 

Reflect:

  • Take some time today to be still before God and worship Him in His sovereignty.
  • Listen to the Christmas hymn, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Advent Day 4

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Waiting...

Scripture: Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan…

Luke 2:39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

Luke 4:16-21 He [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Matthew 4:13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali…

Devotional: Today we see Isaiah the prophet’s foretelling of the Messiah, words that we see fulfilled not only in the birth of Jesus but in His life and ministry.  Nazareth is located in the region of Galilee.  You may recall that Mary and Joseph had traveled to Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown, to register for the census (Luke 2).  That is how it came to be that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  But He was raised in Nazareth, and eventually moved to Capernaum as he ministered in the region of Galilee, thus fulfilling many prophecies.

But notice the opening words of this prophecy:  “there will be no more gloom for those who are in distress.” Distress is an understatement for all that Israel had endured as a result of their disobedience to God.  Yet God would remain faithful to His promise to dispel their gloom and bring hope.  Not only to them, but to all people through them.

Reflect:

  • Take time to consider the distress you experience in your own life?  How have you or might you receive the hope that comes through Christ?

 

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