Monday, November 30, 2015

Adventures at Advent

During this Advent season, I wanted to share a thought for each day.  I have always been fascinated at the amount of work God the Father did surrounding the birth of Jesus.  He prepared the timing.  He prepared the people.  He had to communicate and guide the events of history to have Mary and Joseph in place in Bethlehem.  He had to stretch the laws of nature to cause a lady on the edge of child-bearing age (Elizabeth) and a virgin (Mary) to both conceive and bear a son.

We could consider more but I think this is sufficient to point to and substantiate the sovereign power of God.  And in the midst of the Advent preparation story, there is an encounter.  The encounter is between a faithful priest whose wife and he had prayed for a child for decades.  And yet they remained childless.  Now, as he serves his turn in the holy place as a priest, God sends Gabriel, the chief angel in charge of communications, to convey a message.  This faithful couple is going to be used to raise the man who will serve as a forerunner for the Christ.

Here is the encounter:
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”  19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

I wonder how I would have responded if I were Zechariah?  You have a dream that you pray over for decades and now when it seems to be impossible,  you are told by divine revelation that you are going to receive it?  I may have wanted some reassurance too.  But Gabriel seems indignant at the questioning of Zechariah.

"I am Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God."   It is amazing to think that we as human beings can and do stare divine revelation in the face and question it or ignore it.  Sin is so deceptive.  We are so frail but we act as if we are so powerful. Gabriel then tells Zechariah that he will now remain silent until this all takes place because he failed to believe the words the angel had delivered to him.  The words of God are powerful.

Two thoughts for the day:

1.  Never give up on God-inspired dreams.  He searches always for faithful people who trust Him despite their dreams not being fulfilled.  And He may just use those folks for greater purposes than they ever could have imagined.

2.  The words of God are powerful.  He is trustworthy.  So we can receive what He has revealed to us without question.

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