Before Jesus’ birth, the angels appeared to some shepherds on the hillside outside Bethlehem. They came announcing good news of peace and renewal – tidings of comfort and joy.
We asked 25 people to prepare a meditation for us to read and listen to every day through Advent. We are delighted to share their work with you.
God bless you as you read, listen and pray.
Jeremiah 23: 5 – 8
5 ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Saviour.
7 ‘So then, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when people will no longer say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,” 8 but they will say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.” Then they will live in their own land.’
As we are discovering together, the story of Jesus coming as God’s anointed King, finds its roots in the story of Israel, hundreds of years before the family story of Mary and Joseph from Bethlehem. God’s priestly people, chosen by Him to represent Him in the world and through whom He would bless all nations, were as mixed up as we are. Just as it is so often for us, their broken promises to remain faithful to YHWH were clear for all to see. Distracted, fearful, untrusting, they routinely jettisoned their allegiance to God and swapped loyalty to YHWH for the worship of idols as lifeless as the stone from which they were carved.
The vows were so broken, the covenant so utterly shattered, and Gods heart was so utterly scorned that He let them go, left them vulnerable to the powerful forces of neighbouring empires as they destroyed their cities and took them away to exile.
Exile was no holiday. Exile was brutal. Exile eroded your Hope.
Jeremiah, God’s anointed prophet, had warned them to no avail. The people walked in darkness and their lives, their kingdom, their culture was shattered by the harsh hand of the kings from the north. Just like back in Egypt when it all began. They had been crushed.
So, you can imagine then, that these new words of Jeremiah, filled them with hope – Living Hope – hope that carries you along, day after day, year after year.
5 ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch – a King – a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. This is His name – The Lord Our Righteous Saviour.
We are not there yet, in our Advent story. But this was the hope – one day God would send another King to establish God’ Kingdom again. And He will be called – the LORD, our Righteous Saviour.
For further Reflection
- What was Israel’s problem?
- Why had they fallen away?
- What was God’s promise to his people?