“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” ” – Genesis 15:1-2 (ESV)
Have you ever been promised something that seemed impossible that you would see come true? Abram (not yet Abraham) was in that fix. God had promised descendants, children, and so many that they would be impossible to count. To Abram, God’s promise had stalled and he believed he had an answer. Abram suggested adoption of a servant as the male heir—a well-known contemporary custom of the time and culture. Abram considered it a done deal as it was the best official arrangement to make it come to pass⸺humanly speaking. God said No! It will not be ‘this man’ for it will be your very own son who will be your heir. Now eighty-six years old, time was running out for Abram and Sarai (not yet Sarah). In this exchange Abram address God by the name ‘Adonai’ which was a common name meaning lord, master and God. Abram also addressed God by the name YHWH. This is the name God revealed to Moses when He said “I AM WHO I AM.” While many titles are given for God, the name Yahweh is the true name for God. Most translations render the name as LORD – using all capitals.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. – Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)
If mom told me once, she told me more than a hundred million times, “Don’t slam the screen door!” Some lessons need repetition because they are very important. Our verses today are familiar and they have wisdom and promises we need to remember. So, we return to them often. Don’t weary then of hearing Scripture quoted which you have known before. These truths need to be reviewed more than occasionally; we need to hear them often. We need to admit that we don’t have all the answers and our understanding is not enough. God knows the straight path for us and He knows the end from the beginning. He can direct us when we have decisions to make. So it’s up to us to put our trust in our loving, all-knowing God. It is risky to think our understanding is enough apart from that given to us by the Lord. It is risky messing around with any means or people who do not follow God’s way. If we turn away from evil and trust the LORD with all our heart, we will have healing and refreshment to our bones. Better than any spa visit.
“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 (NASB)
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (ESV)
What does Christmas mean to those of us who belong to the family of God? Today and always it is good to keep in mind that at Christmas we celebrate what God did to make it possible for us to join His family. Two verses, one from the Gospel of Luke and one from the Gospel of John bring to us today’s promises. The promised Messiah’s coming was fulfilled in person the day Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We read what the angel told the Bethlehem shepherds recorded in Luke. In John we read again of the light that Jesus was and brought to earth. Light which evil darkness is unable to snuff out. The world does not comprehend this light and so remains in darkness. It was not only the shepherds who needed a Savior. We needed a Savior too, and He did come to save us. Let’s remember what a great difference it has been in our lives, to have a Savior. Jesus has saved us from sin and from sin’s eternal punishment. And He saves us today from uncertainty, fear, and confusion. Let’s remember this promise today as we hear the words of our verse read.