The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
I fell into a bit of a funk today, friends. I’ve had a little trouble getting in the right frame of mind to write. Everything seemed kind of dreary and colorless, and I was depressed! The weather’s cold and wet, which kind of makes me want to curl up in bed anyway. I have a lot of work to do, but even though I stayed pretty busy, it feels like I didn’t get much accomplished. That always aggravates my stress level.
Then I had planned on going for a run after school–and probably it would have improved my mood–but I decided I could do cold but not wet. So scratch that idea. On the way home, my girls let some giggly rough housing in the backseat turn a little violent, and the next thing I knew everyone was in trouble and I was growling at them and ordering people into their rooms. This is the fifth or sixth recent discipline event (always either to or from school) that’s left me feeling pretty inadequate as a parent. I was already running on fumes. That took the last of the wind from my sails.
Later I scrolled through my news feed and read a few headlines. Here’s what I know. Lots of people are sick–even little children with illnesses that will take their lives unless God performs a miracle. People are grieving–from past losses and from very recent ones. And the world is so violent and so full of hate. Sad, broken world.
One day not too long after my dad died, I was in about this same place. I said, a little bitterly, to my husband, “The world is just a giant ant hill, isn’t it?”
Todd didn’t hesitate when he said, “Yes, but God chose to redeem the ant hill.”
Nice, Rev. Excellent answer.
The world is cursed because of sin, and if I choose to give too much attention to the curse, the world will seem quite out of control. But our Advent scriptures keep pointing us to God’s purpose–His plan to redeem. In today’s scripture we see prophesied the coming of Christ–a prophet who speaks God’s very words. In John’s gospel, Jesus says a number of times that He only does what He sees the Father doing, that His teaching is from the Father, that He came to finish the Father’s work, that He speaks for the honor of the Father who sent Him. We have only to look at Jesus to know our God. He loves. He is merciful. He is compassionate. He heals. He restores. He teaches. He has a purpose—He did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:17).
The Israelites in our passage did not get to hear from Jesus, God’s Word. In fact, they had told Moses that they didn’t want to hear from God directly and to get rid of that pillar of fire already. Really??? How blessed are we that eyewitnesses like John wrote all about Jesus? So that we can actually study Jesus’ words–words that came from God? We can read and know for sure that the predictions of our Advent prophecies were fulfilled in Christ. You see, when we consider God’s purpose, and all that has already been done to accomplish His purpose, the world no longer seems to be hurtling chaotically through space. We–and this rock we call home–are all part of God’s purpose.
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40)
I’m so grateful that the baby born in Bethlehem came with a purpose–to redeem this sad, broken world–and that He would not lose any of us that He’s been given!