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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
God offers provision, protection, peacePosted Tuesday, December 18, 2012, at 2:00 PM
Christmas is just a week ahead. I thought I would write this week about how the Lord speaks to us and give credence to our faith and hope in the Christ Child that we celebrate his coming into the world every Christmas.
I hope to give the reasons we hold about Jesus the Messiah and Christ. Messiah means the "anointed one." He was not just some religious character that started his own religious following. He was prophesied long through the history of the Hebrews (Jews) that God would send to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and to be our Saviour and Lord. He was God come in the flesh to show his love and care for us. He allowed him to die a cruel death on a cross by the Jewish people who did not accept him as the anointed one that God would send to save all who would receive him and his atoning grace.
So let's look at scriptures that spoke of one to come. Way back at the front book of our bible we read in Genesis 3:15, "And the Lord said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon they belly shalt thou go, and dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between her seed and thy seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel."
Here Adam and Eve had broken God's command. They had listened to the serpent (Satan) and it brought the wrath of God against Adam and his wife. But God had said to Satan that he would bruise his head. How was he to do that?
Throughout Israel's early history, they had a tough time in life. Hebrews 1:1 says, "God at sundry times and in divers manners spake in the past unto the fathers by the prophets." Little by little God spoke of one to come who would really help them. All their earliest history they proved to be people who defy his commands and they would pay a penalty. Israel always needed what I often refer to as the three p's. They were provisions, protection, and peace.
After Abraham was told to go and God would build a great nation of them, he promised them a land of their own. Students of the bible know that their having these three things depended entirely upon God's provision, protection, and their very existence. The old day prophets spoke to the people about someone who would be sent who would meet their every need. It was taught to the children through their generations. No one was especially named at that time but the idea became common to all Hebrew families. All their time they needed the Lord's help.
Later prophets like Micah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel and others lived in a time when Israel, a later name of the Hebrews, were in danger of losing their nationhood were told by men like Jeremiah and Isaiah to trust in God. He would keep his promise to meet their needs in life. All through their history they felt the need of a real deliverer since no king or alliance had ever met their needs of provision, protection, and of peace.
They began to speak of a Messiah to come. Daniel was a prophet during the exile and of the time the Jews were going back to their land following the exile. In Daniel 9:25-26 he says the Lord will send that anointed one and called him Messiah two times. They had lost their nationhood to the Babylonians and never had it again until the Jewish war of 1948. That was done in my lifetime and many of you. They sure had lost their provision, protection, and certainly lost what little peace they had. They needed a deliverer and helper.
Israel had looked for a real person and largely some great king. God promised Davis when he was chosen to be king that his kingdom would have no end. Just before David the folks had demanded to have a king like their neighbors. They wanted one who would provide for the three P's. But again the kings miserably failed to provide that. They had some 25 kings in their history but men were absolute failures and heathen like the rest of their neighbors. Today the religious Jews deny that Jesus Christ was a messiah. They had the idea that the messiah would be some kind of king or governmental leader. After all the Lord God had told David that there would always be a king to follow him.
They must however, be obedient to him. In fact when Babylon conquered Israel they never had an earthly king over them and still do not today. Golda Maier became a leader over them but she was never a king. So the main thinking was the Messiah would be much like David and a descendent of David.
The Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They have the same Old Testament we have. Isaiah said to King Ahaz before Christ became their spiritual king. That is the only way God could keep his promise to David. Whether men will accept him as the Messiah he is all that is said the Messiah should be. But in Isaiah 53:2ff the same prophet described him as a suffering servant who would be despised and rejected and a man that would have no special attraction from men in general. He would be acquainted with grief. Jesus went to the cross willingly that he would die for the sins of men. He is Lord and King but one who like the Father, died for the sins of all who would accept him.
Rev. William Piercy is pastor of Blackwater Baptist Church near Manila.