Friday, Dec. 23 – Charie King

23 Dec

Week 4: Love
Today’s Scripture:
Isaiah 59:15b-21
Luke 2:1-20

Have you ever struggled in your study of Old Testament scriptures,
conflicted between the need for justice for the oppressed, but
wondering how wrath, or judgment can also be a part of a loving God?
Recently, I’ve noticed God’s Old Testament love proven in His search
for a reason to restrain His wrath. I’ve seen Him pursue individuals
who are available and listening, willing to be used for the purpose
justice through an alternate avenue than destruction.

God petitioned Noah to save his family, Moses to bring mercy to the
Israelites, Joseph to provide food in famine, and Hannah to bear
Samuel, a priest whose ear was sensitive to God’s voice. Ruth’s life
ushered Naomi from bitterness into blessing, Esther‘s liberated her
people, and Abraham’s courage bargained for Lot’s life.
Unfortunately, in Isaiah 59:15b-21 we see that sometimes God can’t
find truth/justice, or a person who would sacrifice their life for His
purpose. This passage reads that God was “appalled that there was no
one to intervene.” But, in verse 21, we see He will continue to try.

In Luke 2:1-20 this is fulfilled. Angels come announcing the birth of
the Answer, the Ultimate Man whose life will be an intervention for
righteousness, Jesus Christ. In Christ, both God and mankind will
find peace when the unsettled wrath of God is poured out on Christ,
our Ultimate Mediator of mercy and justice. “For he bore the sin of
many and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:11)

In Luke 2, the birth of Christ is announced, celebrated by a host of
angels with a group of simple shepherds. When I visited Israel, I saw
this shepherd’s field was not far from Bethlehem. It probably did not
take long for these men to find the holy family. However, I also
wondered what exactly they asked to find the stable’s location. Did
they inquire, “Hey, a host of angels just told us to look for a Savior
wrapped in cloths in a manger. Do you know which cave they are in?”

This may be funny, but often I wish I knew more about the
conversations, interactions among our heroes. For example, what
specifically did Mary, Joseph and the shepherds spoke about; what it
was like to speak to God; to see angels? Did Mary and Joseph find
relief meeting others who had seen angels, who believed in their Son?
Were the shepherds relieved to know they weren’t delusional? As I sat
in a “stable” in Israel, I wondered if this was why Mary treasured,
pondered her conversation with the shepherds. Was her heart settled
by fellowshipping with others who believed what God was doing through
her?

I wish I could have been there, but I am also thankful to be here.
Jesus intervened for us because there was no one else who could. But
now I hope we will also intervene. When God looks at us, is He
appalled, or does he see a group of people who are available, showing
His love to ones not yet in His favor? I wonder?

-CK

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