Tuesday, December 15, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
The apostle Luke describes the reward God gives to those who watch for His promises to be fulfilled.

Luke 2:37-38 [Anna a prophetess] never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. [She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph], and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of [the child] to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (NASB)

In the swirl of activities and personalities that surrounded the birth of the baby Jesus – was a godly woman who was at least 84. This woman was named Anna, she had been married, but when her husband passed, she devoted the remainder of her life to God. In fact, Scripture says she never left the temple, but spent her time fasting and praying “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

On the day Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the temple to be dedicated – Anna notices the Christ-child. Upon hearing that the babe is the Messiah, Anna expresses no doubt . . . but gives thanks and begins telling others a Messiah has come! After the Magi visited with King Herod, Jerusalem knew of the Messiah born in Bethlehem – but no one traveled to see the Child save the shepherds. Anna, and another seeker of Messiah, Simeon, are distinguished from others because they were looking for Messiah!

Friday, December 13, 2021

Friday, December 13, 2021
The apostle Luke records God’s promise to a devout man that a Messiah would be born in his lifetime.

Luke 2:29-30 [Simeon said] “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, (NASB)

Angels came to Mary and Joseph to announce they were to become the parents of Messiah . . . but there were others to whom Heaven reached out. Simeon is a righteous, devout godly man who was watching and waiting for the coming of the Promised One. In fact, the Bible says the Holy Spirit told Simeon he would not die until he has seen “the Lord’s Christ”. It was Jewish law to dedicate first-born children to the Lord, to circumcise, and for the purification of the mother after giving birth – all these rituals meant there were a lot of little babies in the temple at any given time.

When the Lord moved Simeon to go to the temple, he immediately recognized Mary and Joseph’s baby as the Messiah! This was red-letter day for Simeon! After holding the Promised One, Simeon, was ready to pass from this world and enter His eternal reward. Matthew Henry writes, “how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ may welcome death.”

Friday, December 10, 2021

Friday, December 10, 2021
Isaiah writes in troubled times of hope and a promise.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (KJV)

This wonderful prophecy is all about the babe born in a manger! Hard times were in the pipeline for Israel … 100 years after these words were written, Israel was overrun by Babylon and carried into captivity. It would be 600 years before the babe was born … but the prophecy did come true!

“For unto us a Child is born” – easy to see Mary, Joseph, and the little Babe in a cave or stable. This Babe was God in a form you can relate to … the God of “no beginning and no end”! His name is: “Wonderful-Counselor”, because His wisdom has no end; His Name is “The Mighty God”, because this world is broken and needs a God with big shoulders; His name is: “The Prince of Peace”, because world peace IS a great dream – and one that will be fulfilled one day when Jesus reigns justly and perfectly on this earth. Personal peace is available now, if you call out to the Babe-Now-A-Grown-Up-Savior, who died for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. (For more on discovering personal peace go to familylife.org, and “click” on the box that asks, “Do you know Jesus?”)

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thursday, December 9, 2021
Moses writes of hope and the Lord’s faithfulness.

Numbers 24:17 . . . there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel (KJV)

It may surprise you to know that this promise of Christmas came from a wicked prophet — Balaam. Balaam was a “prophet-for-hire”, and although his services are being paid for in return for a curse against Israel – because of God’s intervention — he could do nothing but bless! This prophecy looked ahead to a time in God’s timetable, when the curtain would rise on what we call today: the Christmas Story.

Tradition holds that the appearance of some celestial wonder: a comet, a new star … was a sign of the birth of a king or some illustrious person. Was this the Old Testament prophecy that moved the wise men to come searching for the King of the Jews? The description of “a Scepter rising out of Israel” underscores this royal intent. Then, recall when the Magi came seeking the birth of the king of the Jews they said: “we have seen His Star in the East.”

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Isaiah writes of hope, in troubled times.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (NASB)

Here the prophet Isaiah was talking to the King of Judah – who is being threatened by invasion. Isaiah says to the pagan, idol-worshipping king: ask a sign of the Lord’s protection! The king refuses – he does not believe in the God of Isaiah. So, Isaiah prophetically addresses, not the king, but … “the House of David”, and says the Lord will give you a sign!

How wonderful that God – despite our frailties, fearfulness, and lack of faith –gives us something tangible we can cling to! Here is a promise of a future Messiah! Ray Stedman points out that when the angel came to Joseph and told him not to fear taking Mary as his wife — the angel appeared to him because he was “of the line of David” (Matthew 1:20). Then, when the angelic host announced to the shepherds that a Savior had been born, (Luke 2:10) they called Him “Christ the Lord” which is the same as “Immanuel” … “God with us”. These two verses clearly show the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tuesday, December 7, 2021
The prophet Micah foretells the coming of Messiah.

Micah 5:2 But as for you, Bethlehem Ephratha (EFF-ruh-thuh), too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. (NASB)

When the magi came seeking the birthplace of the baby Jesus the chief priests answered them by quoting this prophecy of Micah given 700 years earlier! Over and over in Scripture, God glorifies Himself by bringing forth great things from the most unlikely of places. Bethlehem was an insignificant stop on the road from Jerusalem – but it would forever be exalted by this promise that it would be the birthplace of Messiah!

John Piper notes that God is not impressed by big-ness. After Old Testament King Saul was disqualified as king, God’s prophet turned to the little town of Bethlehem. Among the fine strapping sons of Jesse: it was not the oldest, but the youngest who was anointed. When Goliath cursed the God of Israel, it was not the tall, imposing King Saul who went out to fight — but a young shepherd boy. When David fought the giant: it was not with royal sword or shield, but with a shepherd’s slingshot. When all seems lost — do as Micah did — trust the promise of God that a deliverer is coming!