“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”
There are very few in scripture who are distinguished as “chosen of God.” Saul makes the cut, along with Moses and David – other than that, this phrase is used for the people of Israel as a whole, until we come to Isaiah. In Isaiah the “chosen ones” are told of “My chosen one” who will be fully inhabited by the Spirit of the LORD, who will have the hand of God upon Him. His significance cannot be overstated, nor can the significance of His calling.
O Come, Desire of Nations bind in one the hearts of all mankind,
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, and be Thyself our Prince of Peace.
Fair warning – Today is really scripture heavy.
Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
We have come to the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. So far we have lit the candles of Hope in the promise of the Messiah, Faith that God will fulfill all that He has promised, and Joy in anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival. Today we light the candle of Peace, the Peace the Messiah brings – and Peace is the entirety of His purpose.
Since Saturday has been a day for sharing art as reflection and worship, today I wanted to share some of my own.
I am a great fan of balance and symmetry. And I am perpetually captivated by the beautiful symmetries of scripture: the fulfillment of prophecy, God’s perfect alignments of His story, the shadows and glimpses found realized in Christ….
Daniel 1:1-6 — In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service. Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
In 605 BC, three centuries after the split of the Hebrews into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and a century after the Kingdom of Israel had been taken by the Assyrians, the Kingdom of Judah falls to the Babylonians.
The people of God are exiled, scattered. Jerusalem and the Temple will soon be destroyed. Continue reading →
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.
Reflect: “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer.”
There are only two people in Scripture who use these words: David and Habakkuk. David first sings them to the LORD at the end of his last battle, after his servants have killed the four sons of the very giant David himself killed long ago in his first battle. It’s a song of victory. David looks back at a lifetime of God’s providence and rejoices in His goodness and strength. He’s confident in who God is and in his relationship with Him:
“For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my
darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my
God I can leap over a wall.” [2 Sam 22:29-30, ESV]