Prayer for the day
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
Scripture for the day
The coming of Christ, the Light, into the world was supposed to be something glorious, new, fantastic. It was supposed to be something that brought light to the darkest corner of the world, allowed humanity to be free from their enslavement to the darkness and move into the glorious light of God’s love and care. Yet even with the blinding shaft of light entering the darkness, there were still those who turned away from the light and covered their eyes and ears.
The light came as a wooing act of God, a desire to draw all people to himself by overcoming the indomitable effects of sin in our lives. Instead of embracing this burning light, though, people turned away, rejected the light and sought solace and joy in the darkness.
God had done similar wooing before. The call of God on the people of Israel was never-ending. He wooed, he loved, he chastened, he disciplined, he called, and yet the people constantly rebelled. Finally, not out of a desire to hurt, but out of a desire to finally show what the consequences of this kind of action will have to be, God cast Israel out of their land, and according to the scriptures, out of his presence. He allowed them to feel the abandonment of exile, so that they would feel even a modicum of the pain they had caused God by continually abandoning him.
This was not, however, a retributive punishment. This was still a restorative punishment, designed to teach the Israelites that their natural inclination toward rejecting God could actually destroy them as a people.
The coming of Jesus, like the exile, was painful. Both showed the people what could happen if they failed in their mission. Both showed what could be if they followed their God.
The choice still sits in front of us.