God redeems His people and refreshes them as they return from exile. He calls them to take notice of His great acts and guides them to a new place. He raises them from death and breaths new life into them. The prophet Isaiah declares that God will do a mighty work for Israel as He brings them from the hands of the Babylonians (vs.6,14). He will once again set the captives free so that they will sing his praise. Truly, God did this for Israel. His words are true and faithful. Yet, the greatest exile and redemption has come in the person and work of Jesus.
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing'" (Luke 4:16-21).
As God's chosen people, let us daily look to Christ our Redeemer. May we respond to Him with songs of praise and adoration and lives that bear witness to the grace that has been given to us. For we have been united with Christ in His death and raised with to life with Him and seated with Him in the heavenly places. Therefore, we must also consider ourselves "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). So, let us go forth today and live for the honor and glory of God our Father. Let us remember the Son Jesus Christ. Let us be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Reggie Kidd writes:
There are times that call for a sense of measure and proportion — times when you need not to be doing a smack down on each other. Fifth century B.C. Greece it figured out. Will we?
On one front, we face militant Islamists who have declared a reverse Crusade on us, demanding we either grovel before a disincarnate cosmic monad, or die.
On another, Mormons, arguably the fastest growing religion on the planet, knock on our doors with their terminal niceness (with, as Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven chillingly recounts, notable exceptions) and their uber-Disney promise that not only can you wish upon a star but you can get your own star where you’ll be a god or goddess.
Then there are the angry atheists who grouch about the immorality and intellectual suicide of faith. And just wait until this Christmas season’s (how deliciously ironic) release of the movie based on Philip Pullman’s vision of anti-Narnia: The Golden Compass.
Meanwhile, mainline Western churches languor under the sway of pre-pagan eros and post-Christian heterodoxy, embodying in a way that couldn’t be more precise Jude’s prescient warning about “ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).
Meanwhile evangelicals headbutt each other … and do everything we can to our nearest neighbors to let them know we’re more against them than against what should be our common enemies.
Read Reggie's entire post here.
Alora: I don't like that dog.
Me: Why not?
Alora: Because it's small. I like Spicy cause she's big, and I want her to go to church with me.
Me: Yeah, your dog Spicy is big, but why do you want her to go to church?
Alora: So that she can play with me and read the Bible.
Me: Wow. Is there anything else you want her to do with you at church?
Alora: Eat baby goldfish.