As Seen on Sunday: In That Day, Immanuel. In This Day, Returning King.
Verse of the Week
We wait in great expectation for your glorious return.
We confess that we do not understand your ways and your plan.
This causes our fragile spirits to doubt and our ego to declare that we have a better way.
Forgive us, O Lord, for having an impatient trust that is limited by our tolerance for hardship and pain.
Teach us to trust you and help us believe the promise.
During this time we will hear the prophecies of Isaiah - most notably of the One to come, the one called Immanuel.
Now here is the thing about prophecies - they are spoken in the present and spoken about a time that is to come.
And only when the time that is to come has come and gone are we able to look back upon the prophecy and deem it valid and true.
During this time of reflection - this Advent season - we find ourselves well to put on the shoes of those who first heard the prophecy and consider how they felt when the words first entered their ears.
In that day, Immanuel
The Prophet Isaiah spoke to King Ahaz about a time that was coming - one that was hard to believe. (Isaiah 7:10-25)
The promise of Jesus was wrapped in political scheming.
The king was hesitating to join an alliance that he originally initiated with a foreign King. He was getting cold feet.
The prophet Isaiah comes to him to remind him to depend on Yahweh, but the king refuses.
And the promise of the coming Messiah subtly becomes a political threat - God will bring a new kingdom whether or not the political alliance comes to pass.
The kingdom coming will be readily evident with the despair of the people but with a promise of hope.
We will see the and recognize the despair, we will only have the hope to hold on to.
In this day, King of Kings
Since Jesus himself, prophesied his return and the spoke of the eternal and ongoing revealing of the kingdom of God, we have found ourselves as kinsman with those who heard the prophecies of the coming Messiah.
We tend to feel how they undoubtedly must have felt: Frustration, mistrust, unbelief - or at least a wavering belief.
It is hard to believe the promise when present situations don’t mesh with an impossible outcome.
Now, we as Christians are living in a time where we are waiting in great expectation - not of the first coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the Kingdom of God, but of the Jesus’ second coming and the full realization of the Kingdom of God.
A place of peace and justice where sin no longer reigns in the hearts of the people, but freedom, joy, and adorations flows freely from the redeemed!
The hardships are over!
The struggles are over!
The gross exploitation of the powerless is finished!
We have toiled are not at rest!
It seems like we have clearly identified the impossible outcome that seems so distant and so unlikely. Just as those who head the prophecies 2500 years ago. We too feel the uneasiness of believing a word that seems too good to be true. It is here that we need our Verse of the Week - more than any other word.
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
Life. We Do Not Know it
We really should marvel at the ability of women to carry and give birth to a child. Pregnancy is an advent season after all . Awaiting the arrival of a new birth and it comes with a new life, a new identity, a new purpose, and new reality for the parents of the child.
Despite our best efforts we still don’t understand how life comes about. Sure we know the process of genetic mutation, cell multiplication, and the how. But as far as understanding the why of life - we are still grasping at thin air, searching for understanding.
And just like we have not yet figured out life - even in its infancy - we also do not know the activity of God. We will never comprehend his sovereignty and we will never understand completely his motives - his why?
Nevertheless, he has spoken to us. And that leaves us with a choice. How will we respond to the promise of the Messiah? Will we live in advent all the days of our lives?
The EC Challenge
In this season of advent, how will you prepare yourself for the coming of the Messiah? Will you fret and worry because of the present despair? Or will you cling to the promise of the new kingdom with the King?