One of the most beautiful reminders of God’s love for us in the Christmas season is how God has always been faithful to keep His promises and was especially faithful in keeping this particular promise.
To share what I mean, look at two verses that are often used to herald God’s love for us:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
When the prophet Micah shared God’s promise for Bethlehem (who he was was “too little to be among the clans of Judah”) that “from you shall come forth for me One who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2), no one realized how much that promise would cost the God they hoped would be faithful to His promise. Those in his day (around 750-700 BC) were not focused on faithfulness at all. In fact, much of Micah’s promises to Judah during those years were about the coming judgment from God in exile due to their faithfulness and idolatry. Israel fell during his life and ministry, showing Judah that God was indeed a keeper of promises.
I imagine that it hurt God to allow His people to go into exile. He had promised them time and again that exile was where their faithfulness would lead, but they were proud – more than a little bit arrogant – and thought their ways were best. But, even in the midst of God promising judgment for their sin, God promised the coming of the Messiah to one day rescue them from their sins, and the cost for this rescue would come from Him alone because He alone was faithful enough, powerful enough, and loving enough to carry it out.
God left the glory of Heaven and took on flesh (John 1:1, 14), being made in every way like us (Philippians 2:5-8), to come and bear witness to the truth (John 5:33-36, 14:6). He lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died (2 Corinthians 5:21) – God the Father pouring His wrath on God the Son, the substitutionary sacrifice for those who would repent and believe in Him (Romans 3:21-25, 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:13-14; 1 John 2:1-2).
Just as Bethlehem was a seemingly insignificant town, many of us today feel insignificant on a regular basis, yet God loves and cares for you (1 John 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6-7)!
Tomorrow, we will gather together celebrating Him – joyously praising His faithfulness in looking at His humble birth and humbly rejoicing over the hope that comes to ones as insignificant as us through His death and resurrection!
Here are our Scriptures & songs:
- So Will I —
- Luke 1:46-55 —
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
- O Come Let Us Adore Him —
- Adore Him —
- Luke 1:67-79 —
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
- King of Kings —
- (invitation) Joy to the World (King is Coming) —
As a church, we are reading through the gospel of Luke each from December 1-4 as part of our Christmas to Calvary advent focus. You can grab a paper copy in the church lobby or download it here.
There are also daily audio uploads if you prefer to listen rather than read. Here’s Luke 4 for today’s reading:
If you have not been gathering, consider gathering with your church family again. Various variants are still issues in this prolonged pandemic, but prayerfully consider gathering in the 10:00 Bible study where there is plenty of room for social distancing and one could slip out before the worship crowd comes in for the 11:00 service.