“And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
by Georg Friedrich Handel
Isaiah 9:6-7 – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
The children of Israel lived in exile in their own land and enemies oppressed them for centuries. Their hope slowly eroded through the consequences of their own sin and the actions of the nations that surrounded them. And yet, even during those dark years of exile, the priests and rabbis faithfully read the promises spoken by the prophets. The Hebrew nation clung to the faint, wistful hope of what it would be like when their Prince of Peace came.
“He’ll show them who’s the boss! He’ll put those bullies to right, just you wait!”
“Just wait until the Messiah comes and slaughters all our enemies, then I’ll be living in peace all right! Milk and honey will flow. Those Romans will get all they deserve and I’ll get all the plunder! We’ll see who’s laughing then!”
“Huh! Wait until they see Israel in her splendour. Our King sitting on the throne in Jerusalem dressed in royal robes! He’ll be more powerful than even King Solomon. We’ll be feasting on their food for a change, and they can have our leftovers. Give them a taste of their own medicine, that’s what our King will do!”
He is our Humble King
The unassuming birth of Jesus Christ didn’t quite mesh with their picture of a powerful, vengeful King coming to their rescue. Neither did His simple way of life or His challenge. “Turn the other cheek, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, pick up your cross, the first shall be last …” Where was the glory in all that?
The children of Israel wanted a Messiah but did they want to be the subjects of such a Messiah as Jesus? Were they willing to follow the commands and direction of the King of Kings who would lead them onto battlefields they did not go? For this King would first lead them to war against the sinful attitudes of their hearts.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Praise God, we know the rest of the story! We know our King reigns victorious and His kingdom has no end. As we enter the last few days before Christmas, we remember that while He had full knowledge of His true power and place, our King reigned in humbleness of heart.
Philippians 2:1-10 – “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
It’s a dangerous practice to pray against others from a place of resentment and bitterness. Do you ask God to ruin enemies or give them their comeuppance? We no longer live in Old Testament times, and we must follow our Saviour to the cross, forgiving those who sin against us. Yes, loving boundaries are important. Expressing our needs and wants through honest and upfront communication builds strong, healthy friendships and families. Living one’s life in the hopes of retaliation and the expectation of getting what is rightfully yours ignores the example set by our Lord. Study Philippians 2 this week, prayerfully consider those areas of your heart where selfish desires have precedence over service to others. Serve others cheerfully, without manipulation or the rolling of the eyes. If you are not sure how to do this, go through the Gospels this year and watch how Jesus interacted with others even as he suffered on the cross, an innocent man, falsely accused. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24)
Come, King Jesus Come. Come into our hearts, come into our families, help us to keep servant hearts as we fellowship during this festival that celebrates Your birth. Thank You for humble beginnings. Thank You, you choose to draw close to us as Immanuel, God with us.
Accompanying YouTube Video where I share some personal sad news and go a little deeper into this subject.
Bible Readings for Advent 2018 Schedule – Free Download
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Until Next Week
2012, 2018 Katherine Walden
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