December 8, 2021

December 8, 2021

Dear Friends,
 
King David felt guilty.  As the reigning King of Israel, ruling in a time of peace, David lived in a royal palace.  He describes it as “a house of cedar.”  In 2005, archeologists discovered what they believe are the remains of the royal palace, southeast of the old city of Jerusalem.  But David looked at the luxury in which he lived and lamented the fact that while he lived in a house, the Ark of the Covenant was kept in a tent.  A tabernacle.  David wanted to build a permanent home for the Ark.  He wanted to build a temple for the God of Israel.
 
God told him “no.”  This was not the time.  In 2 Samuel 7, God says that instead of David making a house for God, God would make a house for David.  Not a house of cedar.  David already had one of those.  The house God would make for David would be a greater dwelling place for all of God’s people.
 
“When your days are fulfilled,” God told David, “and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son…  And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever’” (2 Samuel 7:12–14, 16).
 
Three hundred years later, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah about this son of David, the One whom God would one day send to His people.  This son would be known as a wonderful counselor.  But He would be more than that.  According to the prophet, this royal Son would be “El Gibbor” – He would be the Mighty God.
 
A human king – a son – who would be the Mighty God?  It would make sense that the coming King would be full of wisdom – a wonderful counselor.  But to designate Him as the Mighty God was an astounding claim.  In fact, some have tried to make the phrase mean “mighty and God-like.”  The problem is, Isaiah uses the same phrase, El Gibbor, later in the book to refer to Jehovah.  There can be no question that the Son who would be given, the descendent of King David, the fulfillment of God’s promise to the King, would be the human embodiment of God Himself.
 
This coming King would combine great wisdom and insight (a wonderful counselor) with divine omnipotence.  No earthly King would be able to challenge His reign or His rule. 
 
Mary, the mother of Jesus, in her song of praise to God when she learned that she was carrying the Messiah, praised the Mighty One of Israel.  “He who is mighty has done great things for me,” she cried.  “And holy is His name.”  The same Mighty One who had looked on the humble estate of His servant and had blessed her was now incarnate in her womb. 
 
Jesus, the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 9, is our Mighty God come to us as a humble servant.  We can trust both His wisdom and His great power. 
 
Adrian Rogers, the former pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, recalls a story from Robert Louis Stevenson about passengers who were on a ship in a severe storm and in imminent danger of sinking. The passengers were whispering “Are we going down? Are we safe?” One passenger said, “I’ve got to find out,” so he made his way topside across the heaving decks, to the pilot house, where the pilot of the ship had his hand firmly on the wheel. The pilot turned and saw the fear in the passenger’s face and just smiled at him, not even speaking a word. On arriving below the once fearful passenger exclaimed “We’re going be all right. I’ve seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled at me.”
 
Rogers went on to say that what we need to do when we are crippled by fear caused by difficult circumstances is look away from the “stormy waves” and into the serene face of our Jesus, our MIGHTY GOD, the One Who is always mighty to save. We need to see the reassuring smile of our Savior Who alone is able to calm the storms simply by speaking these words to our heart – “Peace, be still!”  But remember that while our MIGHTY GOD may calm the storm around us, more often He will calm the storm within us!
 
Rogers went on to conclude “And I can tell you, friend, that He has sailed rougher seas than the one that you’re in right now!” Corrie ten Boom said “Look at the world—you’ll be distressed. Look within—you’ll be depressed. Look at Christ—you’ll be at rest.”
 
May God grant us the grace to sing and pray this great old hymn:
 
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art MIGHTY; Hold me with Thy powerful hand…
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer, Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.”
 
 

take your 2021 christmas photos!

This week and next week, we’ve cleared a spot in the living room for you to snap a picture of yourself or your family to share with others this Christmas.  You bring the camera (AKA your phone) and we’ll have picture takers standing by to take the shot!

children’s christmas sing

 The second (and final) children’s choir rehearsal is this Sunday at 9:45.

And a week from Sunday, on December 19, we’ll all get to hear the children sing for us as we light the fourth candle in the advent wreath!

december ’21 events

 Here once more is a recap of all that’s happening this month (note the date change for the Roots Christmas Party):

CANDLELIGHT & CAROLS SERVICE

And have you invited anyone yet to join you for our Candlelight and Carols Christmas Eve service?  Ask God who you should invite, and then start praying for them now!   

MEN’S RETREAT | | March 4-5, 2022

Guys – if you didn’t do it last week, make sure you add this “save the date” to your calendar now.
 As we saw last week in John’s gospel, all who believe in Jesus will do the works He did.  And because He has gone to the Father, His promise is that we will do greater works.  But do you know what three things we’ll need in order to do those greater works?  We’ll find out as we look again at John 14 this Sunday.
 
See you in church.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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