Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It's the third day of our journey. Today we are continuing on to Bethlehem in a 15-day series that I started Monday, December 7, 2009. If you'd like to walk with us, it's never too late to catch up. You can read the previous posts or just jump on the trail right where we are today. You are welcome here as we walk through God's Word all the way to the evening that our Messiah, Jesus Christ was born.
On the first day of our journey we encountered the Creator who fashioned man in His own image, placed him in a beautiful garden where all of his needs would be met, and fellowshiped with him intimately. And though that beautiful relationship was broken by man's sin, God immediately announced that He had a plan to restore that perfect intimacy and order: Jesus.
Yesterday we walked just a few chapters further in Genesis and realized that the ark through which Noah and his family were saved from the flood is a picture of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We dwelt on the holiness, righteousness, and justness of God because it is only from this vantage point that we can truly appreciate the significance of His grace. His wrath is coming, but if we accept His provision of Jesus Christ as our rescuer, we will never have to encounter that judgment.
Today we meet a man through whom God would finally put His plan for our salvation into motion: Abram. And we focus on a nation that continues to look for their Messiah even now.
God chose Abram in Genesis 12 to be His man. Through Abram, God would create a great nation (vs. 2) which would in turn bless all other nations (vs. 3). How? Well Genesis 17 goes on to tell us that God would establish His everlasting covenant with Abram and his descendants (vs. 7). Most importantly, it would be from this nation, the nation of Israel, that the Messiah, the promised one of Genesis 3:15, would come. Through the nation of Israel, the descendants of Abram (later Abraham), would come Christ the King.
I suppose God could have just zapped down a rescuer at any time and in any old harem karem sort of way. But that's not our God. He chose instead to give us a long look forward to the Messiah through the eyes of a chosen, but stiff-necked people. At points in history that chosen people would long for their Savior like a deer pants for water; at other times they would disregard the promise of Him and opt out for a weak king, an ungodly nation, or a graven image to come to their rescue instead. Like us, they would waver between crying out to God for deliverance and running from God into the deceptive arms of the mistresses of this world instead. They would grow impatient with God, belligerent toward His laws, disinterested in His plan, and full of themselves.
And yet God would continue, and still does continue, to love them with an undying love. God loves His nation of Israel, the Jewish people.
In Isaiah 54:10 God addresses His people who have been disobedient over and over by this time in history. We read "'For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,' says the Lord who has compassion on you."
Maybe today, as we take another step toward that small Jewish hamlet of Bethlehem, we should pause to pray for the Jewish people. As Christ followers, those grafted into Abraham's family, we sometimes become frustrated with the Jews' blindness toward Jesus. But we must remember that God still dearly loves and is in covenant with His chosen people, Israel.
If you know a Jewish person, why not pray for them specifically. Ask your Father to open their eyes to Jesus, the true Messiah, during this Christmas season. If you don't know any Jewish people personally, maybe today would be a good day to pray for the nation of Israel. God has said that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse them. What better blessing than a prayer? And while we're at it, maybe we should pray for our country to remain stalwart defenders of Israel in all of our foreign policy and activity.
Blessings, dear bloggy friend. I'm enjoying this journey with you. Let me know how you're doing and what you're thinking. I value your input!