Thursday, December 1, 2011

Come, You People of the Promise

In this season of Advent, we remember the people who waited and waited and waited for Jesus' incarnation and we turn our thoughts to His second coming. Sometimes, I feel like we're waiting and waiting and waiting, just like the Israelites before Jesus was born.

This hymn, written in 1994, calls us to think about the Israelites and their waiting, and the promise of Emmanuel, God with us. We'll look at each verse individually as we celebrate His coming and wait for Him to come again.

These people waiting for Jesus were the people of the promise. They were God's chosen people who He had promised to redeem from the time Adam and Eve sinned.

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15

He made a covenant with His people and they knew He was a God who would keep His word.

“O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart." II Chronicles 6:14

God would fulfill His covenant by sending a Savior to deliver His people from their sin, once and for all. They had waited for this Messiah from the time He had been promised just after the beginning of creation.

And His coming had been prophesied over and over again.

It will become a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them. Isaiah 19:20

I think the people of the promise expected their King to come like a King, riding in a chariot, wearing beautiful robes and a jeweled crown. But He came in humble glory: born to a virgin, a helpless baby, both fully God and fully man.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:26-35

God kept His promise to His people. And He will keep His promise to you. Meditate today on God's promises.

For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. II Cor. 1:20

Come, You People of the Promise
Words by Joy Patterson

Come, you people of the promise,
Sing for joy! The time is near!
God, the covenant fulfilling,
Soon among us will appear!
As proclaimed in prophet’s story,
Christ will come in humble glory—
God with us, Emmanuel!

Long in darkness we have waited,
Through the shadows made our way,
Gloom and sorrow our companions
As we longed for signs of day—
Great our need for hope and healing,
Some great light our God revealing,
God with us, Emmanuel!

God’s own Son shall dwell among us;
Shadows vanish in that light.
Earth shall know his peace and justice:
Christ who comes shall rule in might.
Let our joy dispel all sadness:
He who comes turns tears to gladness—
God with us, Emmanuel!

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