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Advent Devotional Guide Week 2


Micah 4:1-7


(1)  It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,

(2)  and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

(3)  He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore;

(4)  but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

(5)  For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.

(6)  In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted;

(7)  and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore.


Devotional


One of the most popular Christmas carols of all time is Silent Night. The lyrics for the first verse say:


Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child

Holy infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace


The problem with this verse is that any parent can tell you that the first night your firstborn is alive is anything but calm and peaceful. Your sleep that night is perhaps the most shallow sleep you will ever have. Any noise will wake you. Absence of noise will wake you. For Mary and Joseph, there was far less comfort than the padded, sterile hospital rooms that most of us have our babies in. And Jesus was fully human. He was not silent and calm; he was crying like any other baby.


Even when we look at Jesus's life, we don't see much peace and calm. Not long after he was born, the Magi came to see him and Herod wanted them to report back as to his location so he could kill Jesus. When that didn't work, Mary and Joseph had to flee with him to Egypt while Herod killed all the baby boys 2 and under. Throughout Jesus's ministry, the Jewish leaders planned and plotted on how to kill Jesus. And eventually he was hung on the most brutal torture device the world has ever seen, naked and beaten until he died a horrible, excruciating death.


And yet Scripture calls him the Prince of Peace. How is that a fitting name? For the Jews, they expected this passage in Micah to happen when the Messiah came. They anticipated a Messiah who would reign on this earth in power, whose power would be to the magnitude that any current enemies would be crushed and any potential enemies wouldn't dare come against him.


No one expected a Messiah who would say "'Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.'" (Matthew 10:34-36) They expected the sword for their enemies, but against their own households? This must be the wrong man, right?


What we so often fail to realize is that the war is not of flesh and blood. There is a battle raging within us. Paul describes it like this: "For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members." Jesus did war against our most deadly enemies – sin and death. And what we see in Micah 4 is a description of what is made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We see a picture of the Church, the Bride of Christ, in unity and harmony and peace. Jesus brought peace, not that destroyed all nations except Israel, but peace that brought unity among peoples from all nations of the earth! Now the nations can come together, not with swords and spears, but with ploughshares and pruning hooks, ready to cultivate the earth together as God originally designed for Adam and Eve way back in the Garden of Eden.


In that promised day when the Lord will reign over the nations of the earth in Mount Zion, relationships between God and His people and relationships among the Church will be brought into full restoration and there will be perfect love as has existed for all eternity among the three persons of the Trinity. And in that perfect love, there will be no fear, only perfect peace because "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18a). It is in the hope that we looked at last week, the hope of the returning Savior, that we can have this peace, the peace that passes all understanding, in our daily lives even now. In times of trouble, Jesus is our refuge and strength. In times of mourning, he has promised that he will turn our mourning into gladness. In times of anxiety, he invites us to cast our cares on him, for he cares for us.


It is this anticipation that we are reminded of in the season of Advent. Just as the Jews waited for centuries for the coming of the Messiah, we now wait with eager anticipation for His return, and with His return, His long awaited reign as supreme above all and our freedom from sin, death and fear. Even now, as He is with us each day, we experience His peace, though the imperfections of our flesh drag us toward fear and anxiety. Yet one day, one glorious day, He will return and reign forever and we will fully know Him, the Prince of Peace!


Reflection Questions


1) In what ways are you experiencing the peace of Christ in your life?

2) In what ways do you long for the peace of Christ to fill your heart and life?

3) What do you fear? What promises of God wage war against that fear?

4) In what ways do you need to fight for the unity of the body in your community of faith?

5) How can you pursue peace among all nations like in Micah 4:3 in your daily life?


Response


What are you anxious about? Money? Time? Relationships? Family? Confess that anxiety to Jesus and to a brother or sister and plead with Jesus to give you his peace.


Is there strife between you and a brother or sister in Christ? Seek out that person, confess ways that you have sinned against them, and pursue reconciliation with them.


Are you carrying pain from your past that is keeping you from experiencing peace in your life? Find someone you trust to share that pain with and pray that God would bring healing and peace to your life in that area.


Pray diligently for the day of Christ's return, when believers of all nations will come together in perfect unity and fear will be fully defeated.


Prayer


Father, You are the God of all comfort, a God of refuge and deliverance. In You and You alone is salvation found. I confess to You that my sin is a weight that drags me to the depths. I have nowhere to turn but to You. You are a God who offers rest and respite. You are a God of peace and you bring contentment and satisfaction to my soul. Jesus, only with my eyes fixed firmly on you can I experience the freedom you came to bring. Even among the wind and the waves, teach me to lie down in quiet pastures and lead me beside still waters.


Father, help us to fight for unity among the Body of Christ. Help us to set aside foolish quarrels and vain arguments. Let us love one another, regardless of the color of our skin, the language we speak, the amount of money in our bank accounts or the level of education we have achieved. Jesus, let us, as Your Church begin now to walk together in the name of the Lord our God, for ever and ever. Amen


Hymn


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen


God rest ye merry gentlemen

Let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Savior

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan's pow'r

When we were gone astray

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy

Oh tidings of comfort and joy


In Bethlehem, in Israel

This blessed Babe was born

And laid within a manger

Upon this blessed morn

The which His Mother Mary

Did nothing take in scorn

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy

Oh tidings of comfort and joy


Fear not then, said the Angel

Let nothing you affright

This day is born a Savior

Of a pure Virgin bright

To free all those who trust in Him

From Satan's pow'r and might

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

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Stillwater, OK 74074

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Redeemer Office

Address

324 S Husband St.

Stillwater, OK 74074