Jesus’ birth was a promise delivered. The prophets foretold his coming. The chief priests and teachers of the law knew well where the Messiah would be born. When asked by Herod, they immediately answered, with “In Bethlehem in Judea” (Mt. 2:5).
God chose to step into the middle of a dark world as a baby and become a light for us to follow. Roman rule had become oppressive and even the temple priests were not caring for their people. When the Magi told of a star, a light they were following, the very teachers who knew the promises chose to stay in Jerusalem.
The priests could recite the prophets' words. They knew. Yet, when the light came, when the Creator of everything showed up, they stayed home. They were comfortable in the dark. The priests knew the promise. They quoted the prophet, Micah, “for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel” (Mt. 2:6). They expected a savior that would ride in on a warhorse. They thought peace would come at the end of a sword. However, Jesus’ peace comes through sacrifice, through love.
Like me, they had already defined how God would deliver his promise. They missed the miracle of Jesus because they weren’t able to see past their own expectations. Follow Jesus’ light out of your comfort zone to fully embrace His promises.
God promised me a miracle that day. There wasn’t a magic wand, sigh. I had to keep showing up. Every day for three years. I kept holding on. Even when it was still dark. The promise was still there. The creator of the universe made a promise but I had to show up. I had to move out of the comfortable and into the hard.
Mary and Joseph had to push through their own fears to hold the promise, Immanuel, God with us. The shepherds, these uneducated shepherds, rushed to Bethlehem to see what the angel of the Lord had told them about. The Magi followed a light out of their world to worship a King they did not know.
Friend, I don’t know what fear may be holding you captive. Or, the darkness that surrounds you. I do know he heard my cries and he promised to be with me. Have you been trying to define how God should deliver your miracle? God won’t give you a roadmap but if you step out in faith, He will light your way one step at a time.
Memory Verse: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5
Reading through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers the list of laws probably feels restrictive, even archaic. To our 21st-century lives, they may even appear completely unnecessary. Leviticus 19:19 ends by telling us not to wear clothing woven of two kinds of material followed by those rules we should still follow: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:18).
During the 40 years spent traveling from Egypt to Canaan, from slavery to freedom. God was teaching them obedience. Come when I call your name. God’s plan was to teach a new generation what was holy and how to treat the things of God as holy. As God gave Moses specific instructions to set up the tabernacle which carried the presence of God, his sons were watching him. The next generation was learning to be obedient, to follow God.
As we travel with the Israelites through the desert we can see how God continued calling them with tangible signs: “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out until the day it lifted” (Exod. 40:36). As God continually moved before them He was calling them out of the darkness of the slavery of Egypt, preparing his people for the Messiah.
The Messiah says the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (Matt. 22:39). Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law. He came to fulfill it. God knew we could never keep all 613 laws on our own. When we love God with our mind, soul, and strength, His love will overflow as we learn to love our neighbors.
As Jesus hung on the cross, He opened the door for us to become a temple of the living God. Instead of living in a box, God’s presence lives in us. His presence calls us to obedience. Although obedience looks different for each of us, our love of God and His love of us will spill over into the world around us. What is God calling you to do? Maybe it’s having coffee with a friend or meeting some other moms at the park. You won’t leave Egypt alone. He is with you.
Memory Verse: “Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.” Jeremiah 7:23
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Angi Morrison Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes