Monday, December 14, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 12/14/09

The Nativity, Federico Barocci, 1597

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

On him who is to come shall rest all authority for he shall usher in the age of the Lord, that divine reconciliation with our Heavenly Father for the sake of our righteousness and our redemption. Peace shall come in the Holy Name of God through him and finally shall we know a love that transcends all knowledge and understanding. In our time of weakness he shall give us strength, when we are overcome by the forces of this world he shall counsel us, he shall be our Prince and our Lord able to put to flight all pain and suffering, all sorrow and agony, giving our lives over that we might forever and always abide in mercy and compassion.

This is the wondrous love of God, our Heavenly Father. Even whilst we were lost to sin, death and the Devil, He dwelt with us, bringing forth His promise of salvation from even the earliest of days. (Genesis 3:15) Though, by the iniquity of one man then did sin enter into the world to bind us all to the dark yoke of captivity, crushing us under its burdensome weight, so by the life of one man did liberty come that we might all be set free, the slavery no longer upon us. (Romans 5:12-21) We would be ransomed from that grim power, forever testifying of the love of our Heavenly Father in our lives. (1Timothy 2:5-6)

This would be the faith that the prophets and the saints of the ancient days would build their hope on. (Luke 24:44)

From Moses to Isaiah, from Joshua to Micah, these were men who knew of captivity and bondage, of slavery and the pain that was associated with it. At some point or another their lives were held to be cheap, without any real value to it. They were carried from their homes, exiled in foreign lands as they were forced to kneel before foreign kings. Persecuted and oppressed they knew of the worst that the world had to offer as they were held at the mercy of other men.

Daniel would be cast to a den of lions, his dear friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego would be thrown to the fiery furnace, Joshua would live his life under the task masters whip in Egypt waiting for the day of deliverance, Isaiah would be sawed into two, dying the most painful and torturous of death. Yet their lives were given in testimony to the Lord and His divine mercy as they waited on the Advent of the Savior to lead them through the darkest of days that encompassed their lives to the mercy of the Lord. It would be the testimony of the three righteous men before the throne of Nebuchadnezzar as they refused to bow before the golden idols, recognizing the authority of God before the authority of men that perhaps best testified of this…

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

From the hand of God they knew there would come deliverance… wondrous and glorious deliverance for they knew that He promised salvation to them through the power of His Savior, long awaited and long appointed. It was then just a matter of time before he would enter into this temporal plan and the authority of the wicked who would hold men captive and slave to their will, persecuting and oppressing them, treating them as nothing more that cattle to the slaughter, would be put to flight.

The captivity and the bondage that we see amidst our present age, it is perhaps unlike the captivity of those ancient days of struggle and turmoil. Yet, regardless of what has changed, there are always those things that remain constant. It is worked by wicked men of wicked iniquity and strife who bring chaos and pain, suffering and anguish into this world. They care not for the righteousness of the Lord, for they cannot see past the veil of evil that has been cast over their eyes that so darken their sight. Those who stand in their way are cast to the pits of despair, even robbed of their lives as they are held in bitter exile far from their homes.

But even more constant than that is the constant truth of God’s abiding, transcending love and abiding hope shining through in the lives of His people and the compassion that comes through Christ Jesus, that Prince of Peace and glorious King of kings. Regardless of the day or the age, regardless of how unrighteousness and sin, iniquity and pain may try to assert itself on the lives of the people the authority rests with God and God alone, and through His Son all captivity and bondage is set to flight as He shines His mercy, love, compassion and grace in the lives of His people.

Perhaps we don’t always see that. It seems like when evil is on the march there is nothing that can push it back, there is nothing that can stop its onslaught as it robs people of the dignity and the integrity of their lives. The pain that it brings is so real, so palpable while the cause of peace and God’s authority seems abstract and far distant from this corporeal plane. It’s hard to imagine deliverance finally coming in the significant ways, in the wondrous and the glorious ways foretold of, trusted upon in even those most ancient of times.

Yet we can be assured that God is always faithful and ever devoted in His love and His care. We can know and we can trust that He will bring His mercy and His compassion to bear as His authority is shown throughout this world. Throughout the passage of time He has demonstrated that there is nothing that will be able to stand between His people and His grace. So much so does that come to bear in our lives that He would give His only begotten Son to put an end to Satan’s dark hold over us. What more do we need to demonstrate the care and the love that He has for us?

Yes, it may seem like the authority in this world rests upon the wicked. It may seem as if the power of this age rests upon the unrighteous. It may seem as if there is no end to their power as they work their ways, bringing agony and anguish. Yet the truth of the Lord, abiding and faithful in the lives of His people, is that through the advent of our Messiah salvation truly comes against wickedness and the darkness that it brings. After all, if He could loosen the stranglehold the old adversary had on us as he robbed us of our lives, how much more can He do against the adversaries of this world?

Trust therefore in the Lord and in His promises knowing that by His hand salvation shall come as He rescues His people as He has promised that He forever shall. Trust in the Lord through all the struggles of this world and know that by Him, through Him, liberty shall reign as through His Son and by His Spirit, His authority shall be made known in the love that He has for us, His dear and beloved children.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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