Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

day 9: strength

1 Samuel 2:1-10; Psalm 18:2; Luke 1:67-69

“And Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the LORD; my strength[horn] is exalted in the LORD.  My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.  There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God…The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven.  The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed.'” – 1 Samuel 2:1-2, 10

“I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:1-2

“And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,  ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,'” – Luke 1:67-69

In all three passages we find people praising God after coming out of difficult situations.  Hannah who was barren gave birth to a son.  David who was in danger of being killed by his enemies, even by his own king without reason, got out alive.  Zechariah who was well along in years was given a son.  In all three passages we find in the praises a curious word for a modern audience to describe God – the word “horn” (hannah – “my horn”, david & zechariah “horn of my salvation”).   What does it mean that God is our “horn”?  it seems the horn (as can be discovered from the context as well as other uses of it found in the bible) is a symbol for strength, like the weapon of an ox.  an interesting thing the barne’s commentary pointed out that could be related was that there was a practice in israel that a person could go into the temple of God and hold onto the horns of the altar inside to escape danger (1 Kings 1:50, 1 Kings 2:28).  so in all three passages we find the theme of the strength of God on behalf of his people.

however, hannah mentions another person: “his [God’s] king” and “his [God’s] anointed (or messiah).”  zechariah, also recognizes that God has raised up a “horn of salvation” that would be a person from the house of david.  this person, we discover, is Jesus.  Jesus was born to be the strength and power of God expressed on our behalf.  we are unable to save ourselves from our sin, so Jesus came to defeat sin.  we need a horn, a strength, greater than us to fight this overwhelming battle.  yet, this powerful warrior and weapon did not come at first in the way we might have expected…a lowly baby…then as a homeless preacher…then hung on a cross like a criminal.   He fought the battle for our souls with the power of a humble and blameless life.  something no one had the strength to do before.  by shedding no one’s blood but His own as a sacrifice, He completely disarmed the power of sin.  only those that run to Him are safe.  the first time He came, He fought and won the battle against sin.   the next time He comes, He will come to fight and win the battle against sinners.  He is giving us time.  may we be found with the Horn of Salvation.

where and to whom do we run to, especially in times of trouble?  can we admit that we need strength?  do we believe that He is not only strong enough but that He is the only one strong enough to save us?

thank you Lord that you are our strength.

Advertisements

day 8: coming back

Jeremiah 31:15-34; Matthew 2:16-23

“Thus says the LORD:A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’ Thus says the LORD:’Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country….not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” – Jeremiah 31:15-17, 32-34

“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.’ But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. – Mathew 2:16-21

jeremiah gave a prophesy that there would be a time of mourning for the people of israel. in jeremiah’s time God would bring his judgment on his unfaithful people by exiling them out of israel to a foreign land for a period of time. yet, there would also come a time when the people would not only return to their homeland of israel but that God himself would unite his heart to his people. hundreds of years before jeremiah, God delivered his people from slavery in egypt to a new home in a land called israel. hundreds of years after jeremiah, as prophesied through him, God would deliver his people from spiritual slavery to a heavenly home. The first time children of israel came up out of egypt the people were given a covenant that they would have to obey to receive the blessings of God. This second time a child, The Child, of israel came up out of egypt the people were given a covenant that God himself carried out for us so that we would receive the blessings of God. the second deliverance was even greater than the first. He would bring us home by making His home in us. His love has put His word into our hearts so that we would really know Him. His love has done the work, the work we failed to do. His love has forgiven us. His love is steadfast.

is there anything we need to mourn over in our lives? how can we meditate on His promises and trust that He has and He will do in us a greater work that what we can not do?

thank you Lord that you bring us back…back to you.

day 4: sacrifice

4: Genesis 22:1-14; John 1:29-37

“Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together.” – Genesis 22:8

“The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, whotakes away the sinof the world!'” – John 1:29

i am in awe of the fact that whereas God only tested abraham for abraham to see if he would give up his only son, God actually gave up His only Son…for our wrongs.  abraham would have done it, but God stays abraham’s hand.  indeed abraham was right in trusting God as provider: God sacrificed what was most precious, so that we wouldn’t have to.

a sacrifice is an offering given to someone greater but it is also a laying down of something/someone for the sake of something/someone else.  A something/someone worth the sacrifice.  i am reminded that Christ, who knew He would be a slaughtered like a lamb, endured it all “for the joy that was set before him.”  what was that joy?  what was not yet complete?  was it not saving us?  so that we could also be with Him?  that He, the creator of heaven and earth, would lay down his life before us…that is just too amazing.

are we taking in the full implication that He made the greatest sacrifice for our sake…what He was willing to do before us?  can we say He doesn’t love us then?  how then shall we live?

thank you Lord that you gave your life.