In our minds, we’d love to have it…the perfect Christmas, complete with bells and mistletoe, gifts and family. But it usually doesn’t work out that way, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas stress takes over and we find ourselves focused on the wrong things. We’re worshipping the problems by worrying…we’re devoting ourselves to a crazy schedule out of desperation…and we’re putting up on a pedestal the to-do list only we think must get done. Quit fretting and stewing over the small stuff…Christmas will happen with or without every detail being done and it will be perfect in its imperfect way. For if you think about it…there has been only one “perfect” Christmas…and it happened in all places – a cow shed.
The OT prophets had it pretty rough. They faced rebuke and persecution from all sides, especially when their message was the total opposite of what the people wanted to hear. So where did this boldness come from? How were these mild-mannered, many times even timid men able to stand before Kings and High Priests proclaiming God’s Word? It was the Holy Spirit within, enabling them to go boldly into battle for the Lord. Are you brave enough to pray the prayer the Apostles did in Acts 4:29? ” Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.” Boldness empowered by the Holy Spirit will change your perception. For you’ll no longer have your limited vision, but God’s.
There are many similarities that have been written about Melchizedek and Jesus Christ. From Psalm 110:4 it says, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind: You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” This King Melchizedek of Salem (early Jerusalem) was also a High Priest…combining both the kingly and priestly duties and later gaining Jewish respect as an ideal Ruler. In Hebrews 5:6 it tells us that Jesus is the Great High Priest called of God…but He is also the King of kings and the Lord of lords…and Ruler over all. Jesus is the supreme King and Priest…ruling with justice and compassion.
God is the source of all truth… and the starting point of gaining this knowledge is the fear of the Lord. And as we learn to trust God, the closer we are drawn to Him and His love. Finally, as He shepherds us, we are lead to safe ground…a stable and unchanging foundation where we can build our life and hope upon.
King Hezekiah sought God’s ultimate plan and purpose in his life. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord and followed His Word carefully. It says that he sought the Lord wholeheartedly in all he did…and in doing so, he blessed many and in turn was greatly blessed by God.
In this story, a Canaanite woman has approached Jesus asking Him to heal her demon possessed daughter. At first Jesus is kind, but firmly tells her, “I’ve been sent to help the Jews.” But she’s undeterred with her request, so He then says to her, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” For most, that kind of rebuff would have stop them…but not her! Yes, she thoroughly understands what Jesus is saying, but she also knows that He’s the only one who can save her daughter. It’s by her tenacity and tremendous faith…a faith that Jesus recognizes in her, that her request is granted.
If you’ve lost a spouse or gone through a divorce…you know exactly how it feels. The loneliness and isolation are only compounded by the awkwardness of well-meaning friends. Add to that the strict view of some Churches on divorce…you may have even been asked to leave your Church family all together. So you try to cope with your loss as best as you can…struggling with fear and depression and feelings of self-defeat and failure. But Isaiah is telling you here that your Creator, God Almighty, is your husband (or spouse). He is your Kinsman-Redeemer with a covenantal tie of love and loyalty only to you. With God as your husband, there’s no room anymore for those negative emotions of loss, shame, or rejection to fill your mind. Yes, you may not be married in the legal sense…but you are espoused by a loving and faithful God.