I may be very old fashion, but I still like to talk to people on the phone…or better yet, face to face! Texting is ok, but I like to hear a person’s voice and interact in a more personal way. At the beginning of time God could have been silent, but He chose to speak through prophetic disclosure. But then Jesus Christ was born into the world, making a way for all of us to have an intimate relationship with our Savior. No longer did we have to hear about God…we could experience Him for ourselves.
This prophecy of the coming Messiah was quoted 700 years later by the Chief Priests and Scribes when King Herod asked where the Christ was to be born. In John 7: 25-44 we see Jesus at the Feast of the Tabernacles proclaiming that He was indeed the Messiah, only to see the skeptics quoting this Scripture again…but then mistakenly assuming He had been born in His home town of Galilee rather than Bethlehem. But God never makes mistakes…His timing is always perfect…His promises always fulfilled. This long-awaited Savior of the world had indeed been born in Bethlehem for us all.
The verse written here was the fulfillment of prophecy first spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) Jesus was the embodiment of light and truth, and His message still rings true today…”Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
It’s the age-old story of mankind’s rebellion against God. The Lord appoints prophets to bring His Word of obedience and warning…signaling man’s need to take immediate and dramatic action or pay the price. But what do we usually do? We don’t heed His Word, for we want to have our own way. Our evil hearts ever full of stubbornness and defiance when God says, “Obey Me.” We hear the trumpet, but choose to ignore it out of spite.
This story is about the Company of Prophets and Elisha. Their meeting place had become too small, so they were in the process of building themselves something larger. As they were cutting down trees, an axe head flew off and landed in the Jordan River, sinking immediately. The distraught prophet cried out to Elisha, who threw a stick into the water where the axe head had sunk , causing the iron to float. This can only remind us that nothing is impossible with God…if He can make a hunk of iron float like a leaf…He can work a miracle in our lives today.
The Old Testament Prophet Samuel had told King Saul that God wanted the Israelites to go to battle against the Amalekites and completely destroy and annihilate them and everything they owned…but Saul and his men disobeyed and brought back the best livestock, which Saul tried to justify, by saying they were going to “sacrifice them to the Lord”. God’s reasoning behind the total destruction of a people group and everything they owned was, first… obedience, and secondly, to remove the lure towards idolatry by decimating the source. What the Lord wants more than anything from us is a relationship with Him…not a religious act.