It’s Advent once again. I began this devotional series as a gift of encouragement for my small group, but as I’ve drawn deeper, my heart is to share with all of those who would join me in some daily moments of reflection this season. Thank you for joining me in waiting this year.
The first candle we light is the candle of the prophets, the candle of hope.
Scholars differ on the number (as they so often do), but the Old Testament contains anywhere from 200 to 400 prophecies regarding the Messiah – and they aren’t limited to the capital “P” Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, et al.. The coming of God’s anointed was known and passed down as part of the faith of the Hebrews since before they were a people. Moses wrote of Him, David sang of Him.
I won’t list here the copious references and their New Testament fulfillment – you have Google for that – but I would share one prophecy I have been reflecting on today: the first one, God’s words to the serpent in Genesis 3:14-15.
The LORD God Said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all the cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Not exactly “tidings of great joy” but oh so critically timed in the midst of God’s reproach.
Picture Adam and Eve: The have only ever know fulfillment, peace, and contentment and they are suddenly paralyzed in shame, fear, and brokenness – things that hadn’t even existed yet. These are the only people to have know true, perfect, intimacy with God and now they are the only ones to know what it is like to have lost the same. It’s arguably the lowest point in the history of the world and it culminates in the very first words of hope:
What depths of grace, that even here we would find hope!