Advent

December 15, 2017 at 9:01 am | Posted in Incarnation, Luke | 6 Comments
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December is a great time for Christian parents to talk with our children about some of the great theological concepts associated with Christ’s:
1. Incarnation
2. Advent

As we get older, it seems like December 25 comes faster and faster each year. The agony and expectancy of having to wait for the opening of presents and the sharing of goodies makes the period between Thanksgiving and “the big day” seem like an eternity to little kids. For us adults, who have full schedules and obligations, it seems like Christmas comes the day after Labor Day!

“Advent” means the arrival of something important, and it has taken on the connotation of waiting for something with the sort of longing that makes it seem like a long time in coming. In Christian theology, though, it has a specific reference to the appearance of Jesus Christ at his birth in Bethlehem (His first Advent) and His imminent return, for which we are still waiting (His second Advent). Christmas is a good time to explain to kids that faithful Old Testament believers knew what it feels like to wait with great anticipation for Christmas morning. The prophecies that a Messiah would come to save them from the punishment for their sins and to set them free to enjoy the favor and goodness of God began way back in Genesis 3:15 and continued for centuries and centuries. Kids who are antsy about the arrival of Christmas are the perfect candidates to hear about the stories of Simeon and Anna.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Luke 2:25-38.

See also:

And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:13-14

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Micah 5:2

Next time we will take a look at the Condescension.

Beware the Frightening Footsteps

October 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Posted in The Fives | Leave a comment
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The rulers of God’s people had behaved sinfully and shamefully. Now they themselves would be shamed openly, as their enemies, the Assyrians, would conquer their land and humiliate them with smacks to the face.

Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.

Micah 5:1

They would also stomp through their palaces, terrorizing the people with the threat of captivity and destruction. However, the people could still choose to believe God’s promise that one day a Messiah would come. He would bring peace between God’s people and the God they had offended with their sin. And while He himself would be powerful enough to throw off the yoke of bondage on His Own, He would also graciously raise up Godly leaders and empower them to stand against God’s enemies.

And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.

Micah 5:5 (emphasis added)

If you have been born again by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are victorious in Him and do not need to fear the principalities and powers and dark rulers who tread through the palaces of this world. You may instead trust and believe that God is still ordaining seven (a metaphor for the the perfect number) and eight (meaning abundantly and plentifully) shepherds and principal men in Bible-believing local churches today to lead the flocks of the Lord Jesus in the ministries of peace and reconciliation.

Cut-Outs, Cut-Ups, or Cut-Offs

March 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Micah | 6 Comments
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Do you remember the 70s when everyone wore “cut-offs?” Those old blue jeans that had been modified into shorts by a sturdy pair of scissors?

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Micah Chapter 5 is God’s “cut-off” chapter, where He announces the cutting off of the things that His people never seemed to tire of, even when God’s patience had run completely out.

Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

Micah 5:9-13

God cuts off, not to make a fashion statement, but because He will have the preeminent place in this world, not only in the hearts of believers, but, one day, in the suddenly-opened eyes and ears of everyone in the whole world.

And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

Micah 5:15

Would you rather God have you by the heart, or by the throat? Would you rather be one of His friends, or be a part of His footstool?

One Sin Lighter

February 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Posted in Micah | 4 Comments
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Micah Chapter 4 transitions from the destruction of Jerusalem in the near future, to the New Jerusalem in the distant future.

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.

Micah 4:4

The Lord promises a pleasant home, plenty to eat, and peace in the land. God will give us the desires of our hearts when our hearts desire what He desires.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Psalm 37:4

For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

Micah 4:5

Knowing God and obeying God are blessings unto themselves. Jeremiah had told the people in Judah to surrender to Babylon to save the city and the temple, but they did not listen.

Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

Micah 4:11-13

In the end times Israel will look weak and defenseless, but it will really be strong through God’s power in “the remnant.”

Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.

Micah 5:1

King Zedekiah would be captured while trying to escape and the Babylonians would humiliate him by striking him with a rod across the face.

Micah 5:2-5 is the prophecy found here in the New Testament:

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Matthew 2:5-6

Micah reveals that the Messiah would be: eternal; humble; rejected; and returning victoriously. The prophecy of the Messiah was to give comfort and to arouse responsibility, not to satisfy curiosity or cause complacency. We may say the same about the prophecies in the New Testament today concerning Jesus’s return.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

Micah 5:7-8

The people of God should be like lions: strong and bold. And like dew: refreshing and fruit-producing.

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

Micah 5:10-15

God warns, and then He purges. He wants to get good fruit from our lives. If we are a field, and are producing bad fruit – the wrong kind of fruit – no amount of pruning, weeding, fertilizing, watering, is going to help. We’ve got to be plowed up and re-planted. Christ will deliver you from some particular sin, but by trusting Him to do so, you place yourself totally in His hands, and He doesn’t just want you to be one sin lighter. He wants you to be perfect. If you trust the crop expert to get rid of the boll weevils, do not be surprised if he burns the whole crop and completely re-plants before He is done.


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