Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 12/3/09

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:4-5

There was a faith that the prophets clung to all of the days of their lives. It was a hope in the promises of the Lord. Though they were lost in captivity, though sin grasped at them, strangling the life from them amidst its dark, brutal power God had given them His assurances. They would know that that this would not be their fate forever. The dark bondage of this world would be set to flight, and the exiled would return to home. Love and compassion from God, the Heavenly Father, would reign as, at long last, freedom would be bought and paid for through the life of the Messiah.

The Son of God would come, being made man, born in the most meager estates. He would live his life in service to His fellow man, showing mercy and grace in the lives of the people. Upon his shoulders would rest all of the griefs, all of the sorrows, all of the transgressions of a lost and fallen humanity. For their sake he would stricken, smitten and afflicted. For their sins and the iniquities, he would be bruised, and injured. All that our spiritual injuries would be healed and that peace would come to encompass our lives. Captivity would no longer have any power over us, for it would be made captive (Ephesians 4:8) and we would be ransomed by God’s transcending, encompassing love, made manifest through Christ Jesus. (Matthew 20:28)

For Isaiah, for all of the Prophets of those ancient days, there was no greater hope they could build their trust on. They had the promise of the Lord of the coming Savior, of that Redeemer who would bring liberty through the power of His hand. God’s love would be revealed in all of its glory, made apparent through the life of Christ. Even if they had tried they couldn’t seem to abandon this blessed assurance of the Lord, for no matter how long it was that they had to wait, they knew that there would come a day when the miracle of the Lord’s plan would come to fruition and all would be revealed unto them who waited in faithful anticipation for the fulfillment of His Word.

Having waited generation after generation, age after age they never gave up that hope in the expectations of the Lord. Though despair and pain, suffering and sorrow, anguish and hardship surrounded them, though they found themselves torn from their homes, exiled from their lands, the people of God falling away to the false idols of this world, those faithful of God, such as the Prophet Isaiah, refused to give up their belief that the Lord would fulfill His promise to them. Even as their world collapsed, even as it seemed to fall apart all around them, still, they looked to the blessed assurances of their Heavenly Father knowing there would come a day when all of this would come to an end. His Son would come and, in his train, he would bring the blessed Spirit of Liberty to set them free.

The Messiah would come. In God’s time, in God’s way, the Redeemer would enter into this temporal existence, made man. Just as Isaiah foretold, just as the Prophets anticipated, the Lord would stay true to His promises to them and there would finally come the day when he would be born to bring them to the glorious liberty of the spirit and the soul, removing from them the burden of captivity and the yoke of slavery to sin, death and the Devil. He would come into this world to be wounded that they might be healed, telling unto them, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 28:11-30)

If this is the hope that God shows unto His people, unto His beloved children amidst the spiritual captivity that so crushes us, then imagine then the power that He has over the physical and the mental captivity of His people amidst this world’s authority. After all, it is He who ultimately has all of the power and authority; it is on Him that rests all the glory amidst the ages. With a word He can fail the control and the strength of this world. In the end even those who oppress and subjugate, even those who take hostages and make slaves of men, they are subject to His supremacy and His rule over all that He created. (Romans 13:1) Though they flee and hide from Him, believing there are dark places they can commit their sins and their iniquities, there is no place they can go that is out of the sight of the Lord God Almighty. It is here then that we know that in His time, in His way, He will bring justice to the afflicted and end the suffering of those who are held in such painful estates.

God does not fail or forsake His children, nor does He abandon them to suffering and sorrow. Rather, He is there to show His love, mercy and grace for their lives. This is the transcending truth of the ages. It is the truth that Isaiah knew, the hope that Moses built His faith on, that David placed his trust in, that Jeremiah struggled to maintain, it is timeless optimism that Job, even in the darkest of days of His life drew strength from. God does come in glory and love, in compassion and mercy, to set His people free according to His grace. There is no power that can afflict them, no power that can hold them, there is no authority greater than His. Through Christ Jesus and the encompassing sacrifice He gave through His only begotten Son He showed that truth to us.

Look then therefore to the truth of Christ’s advent, for, in it, comes the great message of freedom that transcends the ages. It is the message of liberty and justice that sets God’s people free according to the love that He has for them. Through it and through him we shall then always know the truth that will set us free, and like the prophets of the days of old we shall have all that we need to build our hope upon all of the days of our lives.

Yes, the days may be long and full of hardship, yes it may seem as if there is darkness all around us, it may seem as if the grim hold of those who take captives and prisoners, slaves and hostages has no bounds as they work their wickedness through this world and in this world. But as the Lord, our God, showed through Christ Jesus, His only begotten son, as He sent him down from Heaven for our cause, these things too shall come to pass as God shows that His love and His mercy reigns supreme.

That is out timeless hope, the transcending truth of our lives, the faithful anticipation of His Word for our lives. Find your courage and your strength in that assurance and know that you shall always have a firm foundation anchored to the rock of God’s salvation, both temporal and spiritual, as the freedom of that comes through His love encompasses the body and the mind, the spirit and the soul of His people.

What a wondrous promise and a glorious assurance that truly is for our lives...

What a miracle that is that shines through in our lives…

Blessed be His Holy Name for that.

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

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