There have been times in my life when I just wanted someone to come and restore sanity! Life was hard and I didn’t feel strong enough to continue under the weight. All of us have felt that way at one time or another.
From the time of God’s intervention in the garden, hundreds of years had passed. Life was hard. The people of Israel, the nation whom God had chosen to fulfill the promise, and to whom the promise had been passed down, waited. They often found themselves in a position of slavery, for one reason or another. Not that God wasn’t with them, but because of their choices.
Throughout those many hundreds of years, God reminded them over and over, at times when they needed it most, he hadn’t forgotten them. He’d even sent prophets to point them back to him when they’d gone their own way. These prophets spoke God’s words to the people of Israel, and any other nation who would listen, proclaiming one day, He’d send a great King to rule and reign, restoring peace. The people of Israel assumed this king would come as most other kings came – with great pomp and ceremony, proclaiming his power and might boldly.
God rarely does anything the way we assume.
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
Finally…the time…had come…
All was ready…the right people…the right circumstances…
All was in place…
An elderly couple had long given up hope of ever bearing a child. As Zechariah, a priest in the Temple in Jerusalem, went about his daily duties, an angel appeared and told him his wife Elizabeth would soon conceive and bear a son. They were to name him John. He would become the one whom God had promised would prepare the people for the coming of the long promised Messiah (a Hebrew word for leader/savior). (Luke 1:5-25 NLT)
Just a short time later, a young woman from the town of Nazareth, named Mary, a virgin, went about her daily tasks as usual, until an angel of God interrupted and gave her the news she would bear the Son of God (the seed from Genesis 3) within the next 9 months. (Luke 1:26-38 NLT)
Not many weeks later, Joseph, Mary’s fiance, learned she was pregnant. He, being a godly man, became very troubled by her perceived unfaithfulness. After much thought, he chose to divorce her quietly rather than have her go through public humiliation. That was the plan until an angel intervened in a dream, letting him know Mary hadn’t been unfaithful, but in fact was carrying the promised Messiah. (Matthew 1:18-24 NLT)
Nine months later, as Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to register for the census decreed by the Roman Emperor, Augustus, Mary’s body told her the child would come soon. No one would give them lodging, but Joseph found a place in a nearby stable. There she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. They named him Jesus (which in Hebrew means Jehovah (one of God’s names) saves, and is generous), as Joseph had been told to do by the angel. (Luke 2:1-7, Matthew 1:20,21 both NLT)
God had long waited the coming of the One who would restore fully his relationship with mankind. The night had finally arrived, and all heaven sang out the joyous news!
“Don’t be afraid!” he [the angel] said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Luke 2:10-14 (NLT)
The same message rings through time to us –
“Don’t be afraid. The Savior has come!” He may not come to us in the way we expect, but the restorer, the champion of mankind has come. God didn’t abandon us in our rebellion. He made a way. Praise Him!
We will finish out the week with the Battle he waged to win our freedom in the midst of struggle.
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