God’s Power and Mercy

I (Beverly) read Nahum’s prophecy against Nineveh recently. There are no “epic battle” scenes in movie or print that can match the images of God’s unbridled power against injustice and rebellion against Him.

During this season we see (and sing and read) a little baby born in a cave to nondescript parents and wrapped in rags. Shepherds, the riff-raff of Jewish society, received an angelic announcement of great joy. Magi traveled far to see a king, and they found a little boy in a house with working-class parents. Other than the angel choir with one song on one night, the birth of Jesus passed largely unnoticed. When his birth was “noticed” by Herod, the result was an act of state-sponsored terror that rivals anything we read in the news. The world gasps in shock when a school is invaded and children are shot to incite fear and terror. Herod had ALL the male children in Bethlehem and in all the region who were two years old and under KILLED. Dragged from their cribs and from their mothers’ arms.

There must have been cries of anguish, wondering where was the God of whom the prophets had spoken? The Righteous Judge, the Avenger of his people?

We still ask a form of that question today, every time a school is invaded and students and teachers killed; when police officers are shot execution-style as they sit in their patrol car; when movie theaters and shopping malls become shooting galleries; when young girls are kidnapped and car bombs explode. . .

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will wait for Him.” Lamentations 3:21-24

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as 1000 years, and 1000 years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” 2 Peter 3:8-10

“Therefore, beloved since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation…” 2 Peter 3:14-15

As much as I long for the injustice and the terror and the persecution to be avenged, I also understand that it is God’s mercy giving people opportunity to repent–
God’s mercy that pursued me, and opened my eyes to the gospel, and gave me faith to believe. God’ love that compels us to share this reconciliation. God’s commandment to “go and make disciples of all nations” is because of His mercy.

So while I still pray for justice, I also pray for people to “turn from darkness to light, from the power of satan to God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [Jesus].” Acts 26:18
And I pray for people who are willing to go and bring that message to those who have never heard. I am so grateful for God’ patience. . .

The Candle of Hope/Friday-December 9

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in Him the Gentiles will hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:12–13 (NIV)

Let’s go on a short hope journey today …

Starting out at Luke 2:29-32, we read, “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

Moving onto Ephesians 2:12, we see the Apostle Paul encourages the church remember that at that time you (Gentiles) were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

What people groups do you notice in the passages from Romans, Luke and Ephesians?

Biblically speaking, the world is divided into two people groups: Jews and Gentiles. Jews (Israel) are the descendants of Abraham, the one with whom God made a covenant promise of an eternal possession of land and a Seed (descendants). We discover in Galatians that the Seed (offspring) is Christ. God did not exclude the Gentiles, but planned all along to use the Jews to be the conduit through which to bring His Messiah. The Jews for the most part did not recognize their Messiah, but praise God, we Gentile believers have been grafted in and adopted as children of God!

As we move closer to Christmas 2017, let’s renew and refresh our hope. We have a confident assurance and expectation that God is going to complete our great salvation when Christ returns and gathers His own. After all, we are His body, His church, His bride.

Living It Out – Find a quiet place and speak or write words of confident expectation to Your God. Begin with remembering who He is and what He has already done in your own life. Ask Him to point out your fear and doubts and replace them with truth and hope.