“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” — Isaiah 42:1-4
As our hearts turn to Bethlehem and that first Christmas morning, it’s hard to imagine just how perfectly wonderful Jesus is. As I read today’s focal Scripture this question comes to mind: how can this servant bring justice to the nations with such a gentle demeanor? As you read you see that this servant “will not shout or cry out”, yet he will bring justice to the nations. This servant will not “raise his voice in the streets”, but he will bring forth justice. He “will not falter or be discouraged” but he will establish justice on earth. How? Relentless, gentle love.
Notice how Jesus handles the broken and hurting. “A bruised reed he will not break” conveys the gentle way in which Jesus handles the hearts of men. Remember, it is God’s kindness that draws us to repentance. Knowing that Jesus will not “snuff out” a smoldering wick shows how He interacts with hearts that once must have been burning bright but now have faded. He won’t ignore them; these are the very ones He came to save. The bruised, those whose fire is going out, these are the ones that Jesus is calling back to God for healing and restoration.
So… is God love or justice? Yes. Is Jesus gentle or did He come to restore justice? Both. Often the false choices we are forced to make in human culture can find their way into our understanding of who God is. Jesus came full of grace AND truth. It isn’t an either/or but a both/and dynamic. God is full of compassion and truth, grace and mercy, holiness and justice, righteousness and kindness. God is the perfect manifestation of all these things, the greatest of these is love.
Today I pray that as you turn your heart to the manager, that the shadow of the cross would not fade. Christmas without the crucifixion is meaningless. The birth of Jesus without His death and resurrection hold now power. As Paul said: if Jesus hasn’t risen from the dead, we are still dead in our sins. Today, let us rejoice knowing that Jesus came as God’s servant to right every wrong and to bring true justice and peace to mankind. In the life, death, and resurrection we come to know true peace and restoration of our relationship with God.
Father, today we confess that sometimes it can be difficult to understand who you are. God reminds us that if we could explain who you are fully, you wouldn’t be God, we would. Lord help us to trust in the truth you have revealed in Scripture about who you are. Help us remember that You are more wonderful than we could imagine and Your love for us motivated You to give Your only Son Jesus to come as a ransom for our lives. Thank you for Your servant and the relentless, gentle love He shows to us all, in Jesus name, amen.
Truly, the LORD Himself will give to you a sign; Behold! A virgin will be pregnant, bear and conceive a Son — and His name will be called: “With us, God.” — Isaiah 7:14
“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…” as the song goes, sung by the Five Man Electrical Band. In it they mostly espouse, in rather humorous and some unfortunate ways, the misleading nature of signs. We are accustomed to so many signs these days that their noise may seem, as they continue to sing, that it is “blocking out the scenery and breaking my mind.”
But to announce something as important as the Savior of the world, God knew we’d need a sign. Nothing misleading, or confusing…just something unmistakable. And so, He gave us a sign, Himself…something only He could accomplish. This sign would break the very laws of nature that He had created! A virgin, a woman who had never known a man intimately, would become pregnant — without the seed of a man — she would carry a child and conceive a Son. And this Son, would not be simply human…but fully human and fully God. For He would be called Immanu (with us) – el (God).
This God would not remain far off and untouchable, but as John would later remark, a God “whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1 NLT) This God will be with us and for us and in us! (Isaiah 7:14; Romans 8:31; John 14:17) God is approaching! Therefore, Hope is rising! Hallelujah!
Take a moment today and praise the “with us God!” Are you with Him the way He is with you? You can put your faith in Him today and trust His power to completely save you. Here’s your sign.
The word Advent means approach or arrival. It comes from an old Latin word Adventus that literally means “to come toward.” Originally, it was used to describe the season in which we anticipate the approach or arrival of the celebration of Jesus’ birth — His arrival on planet earth.
This set of devotions is meant to help bring out the depth of richness that this season can have if we “come toward” God during this precious season. For during this season, we are reminded that God “came toward” us in the person of Jesus Christ. He will be called Immanuel, which means God with us. This approach toward us meant the arrival of Hope and Joy. The Good News was born on earth and we now have the hope of restoration and peace with God.
The Journey to Bethlehem began through the prophets, hundreds of years before Jesus’ arrival on earth. This journey continued through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As we look at a journey birthed out of God’s promises, that began with fear and uncertainty, we will discover that this journey ultimately ended with joyful and triumphant hope! God is with us! And He will deliver His people from darkness and sin forever.
You are invited to celebrate the season of Advent once again. Come join us on our Journey to Bethlehem and let us be reminded that every time we celebrate Advent, we are one year closer…the approaching Savior will arrive a second time upon the earth and come toward His people a second time, setting all things back in order in His glorious Kingdom of Light!
May God bless you and your families as you come toward the God who is with us on this Journey to Bethlehem.
Have you suffered the death of a loved one? Are you dreading the upcoming holidays? GriefShare can help. Shoal Creek Baptist Church will be hosting an online event “Surviving the Holidays” on November 24th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Please go to Griefshare.com to register. Registration required.
- This Wednesday at 6:30PM Bro. Steve will continue in our special 6 week study of Apologetics. Be sure to join us in person or via Church Online as we explore how share your faith with gentleness and love.
- This Saturday at 8AM the men’s fellowship will be hosted at Bro. Jack Ott’s home. All men are invited to this great time of fellowship and Bible study.
- This Saturday at 10AM to 12PM, the church will be having our bimonthly conference. All church members are invited to attend in person or via Zoom.
- This Sunday at 5PM the Women’s Fellowship will meet at the church. All women are invited to attend this wonderful time of fellowship and study. Bring a friend!