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Advent Day 3

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Waiting...

Scripture: Jeremiah 23:5-6 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,  “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.”

Devotional: Roughly one hundred years after Micah prophesied the Messiah coming out of Bethlehem, we see these words from the prophet Jeremiah.  He reminds the people of God that the Messiah would come from the line of David, and salvation is proclaimed both in His Name and in the proclamation of what He would do. Throughout their history, Israel would need saving from its enemies.

It’s not hard to imagine when considering the warfare and conquering this kingdom endured, that they would greatly anticipate this coming king.  But can’t you also imagine them growing weary in waiting and wavering in their faith?  Indeed they did, many walking away from the God who had set them apart and delivered them time after time over the centuries. 

But God remained faithful to His promise.  And salvation would still come, though perhaps not as they had imagined.

Reflect:

  • In what ways have you been waiting for God in your own life?  Are you tempted to waver in your faith when He doesn’t answer as you would have Him to, or in your timing?
  • Be reminded today that “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)  And trust that His ways ultimately are for your good.

Advent Day 2

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Waiting...

Scripture:  Micah 5:1-5 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.  And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace…

Devotional:  Micah the prophet wrote these words 700 years before the birth of Christ.  By this time Israel had split into two kingdoms, Israel in the North, and Judah in the South. Micah also predicted the destruction of both of these kingdoms for their respective sins, which eventually happened when Israel was conquered in 722 BC and Judah in 586 BC.

Micah predicts that Bethlehem, one of the smallest clans of Judah, would be the place from which a ruler would come .  One who would rule in the majesty and strength of the Lord across the whole earth, and who would ultimately be our peace. 

700 years would pass before this came about.  That’s a long time to wait. 

By this time the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed and later rebuilt, and many exiled Israelites had returned and were established in the city.  But Rome ruled, and the people of God still awaited a King from the line of David. God’s purpose would prevail, and at the appointed time, the waiting would end:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”  Matthew 2:1-6

Finally!  The prophecy fulfilled.  But not all would see it this way.

Reflect:

  • What kind of king do you think the people were anticipating as they awaited the Messiah?
  • Most certainly they had their expectations at what and how God would provide.  Consider your own expectations for God’s provision in your life.  How might they differ from God’s plan?

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