From our vantage point, it seems that the Kings of the earth rule the world. And, when King Herod considers the coming messiah to be a threat to his empire, he acts out of fear and resorts to mass violence. Mary, Joseph, and their baby are in danger but, while the King “plans his way, the Lord directs his steps.” God’s intervention leads to a different outcome than Herod expects.
Once again, we can see that, in God’s economy, the valleys are lifted up and the mountains are brought low. Which are you: a mountain or a valley? A shepherd or a king?
The life of a shepherd in the first century was humble but it was not easy. Not many people wanted to do the job. It was hands-on while weathering the extremes of nature as you constantly herd, feed, and care for meandering flocks of sheep; it was exhausting! Imagine the interruption, the shock, and the JOY experienced by the shepherds on the night baby Jesus was born. The angel appeared in the dark of night to proclaim the Light of the World - the MESSIAH - had finally been born!
This was not news for lowly shepherds; it was news for royalty, for world leaders, for highest levels of importance on the social ladder! But this is not how God sees the world. This is not the ethic of the Kingdom of heaven and it is not the way God chooses to work in the world.
On the night Jesus was born, would you have wanted to be a shepherd or a King?
The New Testament gives an account of a young woman named Mary who received an unexpected visitor. She was favored in the eyes of God and an angel told her she would miraculously bear a Son. This unexpected pregnancy would become the most difficult season she would ever have to walk. Still, she had the FAITH to trust in God and it was worth it. When was the last time you heard from God and acted in faith?
The Exile Prophets of the Old Testament promised the arrival of a coming King who would lead God’s people out of bondage and suffering into a new era of victory. Though they had to wait, their message created expectation, which gave birth to HOPE. As we begin the journey of Advent this season, ask yourself: where do you get your promise, where do you place your expectations, and in whom is your hope found?
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- 1.Kings (Advent Week 4)
- 2.Shepherds (Advent Week 3)
- 3.Angels (Advent Week 2)
- 4.Prophets (Advent Week 1)