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Pursuing the Christ at Advent – Day 10

Psalm 119:137-144 CSB – 137 You are righteous, LORD, and your judgments are just. 138 The decrees you issue are righteous and altogether trustworthy. 139 My anger overwhelms me because my foes forget your words. 140 Your word is completely pure, and your servant loves it. 141 I am insignificant and despised, but I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your instruction is true. 143 Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but your commands are my delight. 144 Your decrees are righteous forever. Give me understanding, and I will live. (emphasis mine)

I can trust God. God says what he means, and God means what he says.

Numbers 23:19 CSB – 19 God is not a man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?

Both Zechariah and Mary were presented with implausible situations. Both were given a message from God through an angel.

Zechariah was a priest. He knew God’s Word. He knew the story of Balaam and Balak in Numbers. He knew Psalm 119. He was not a young man, inexperienced and untrained. Mary was a young woman. She was not royal. She was not a priest’s daughter. They both had questions for the angel. But the questions are different, and the question reveals the heart . . .

Zecharaiah’s question — kata tis ginosko houtos  — how can I know by experience that what you are saying is really true?

Mary’s question — pos houtos eimi — how is is physically possible for this to happen to me?

James 1:5-8 CSB – 5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God ​– ​who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly ​– ​and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, 8 being double-minded and unstable in all his ways. (emphasis mine)

The problem is not in asking questions. I would have had questions for an angel! The issue is the heart — do I believe God? Do I believe that God can do what he says he will do? Do I believe that God really has a plan?

Do I trust that God’s purpose for me is right, even if it doesn’t align with what I think (or thought) my purpose should be?

The psalmist was not “in a good place” when he penned the verses cited above. He felt insignificant and despised (v 141); trouble and distress had overtaken him (v 143). Yet, he continued to return to the truth of God’s Word, and the surety of God’s plan. He didn’t know how, or even specifically when, (at least 8 times in this psalm he asks God to teach him his statutes) but he did know and believe in God’s righteousness and justice (v 137).

Will I believe? Yes, Lord. I believe you, and I submit to your plan.

Pursuing the Christ at Advent – Day 9

Acts 17:24-34 CSB – 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it ​– ​he is Lord of heaven and earth ​– ​does not live in shrines made by hands. 25 “Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. 26 “From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. 27 “He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 “For in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’ 29 “Since we are God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. 30 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 “because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began to ridicule him, but others said, “We’d like to hear from you again about this.” 33 So Paul left their presence. 34 However, some people joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (emphasis mine)

God has a plan.

God determines the timing.

. . .so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us . . .God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness . . . (v27,30,31)

God’s plan is not arbitrary.

1 John 4:9-10 CSB – 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Such a great and amazing love!

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