Advent Devotional Week 1 Theme:  WORD

Title: What God says, God accomplishes

 

Text: Luke 1:37 ~~  “For no word from God will ever fail.”

Scripture Reading:  Luke 1:8-38; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23

Reflection: “When EF Hutton talks, people listen!” This popular slogan in financial service advertisements in the 1980s showed two people in a conversation about investment decisions in the middle of a noisy restaurant or a jog in the park. When one of them mentioned that their broker was EF Hutton, everything and everyone came to a halt around them. His words carried such weight that people stopped what they were doing to hear his words so they can follow his financial advice. People believed following his message would result in their personal financial success.

The message of the birth of Jesus Christ carries much greater weight than EF Hutton’s! As we begin commemorating the coming of Jesus today, we will look into two accounts of many in which God speaks to people and their response to His words.

Two similar and significant accounts had the same messenger and a specific word from God about a special son within a span of six months.  Gabriel, God’s messenger, delivered shocking and seemingly impossible news – Elizabeth who was barren, well along in years and Mary, a virgin, were to give birth to special sons with a significant future.

Till Elizabeth gave birth just like God said, Zechariah could not speak because he did not believe the word of God (Luke 1:20 – “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day it happens because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”).  Matthew recorded that when John the Baptist preached it was the fulfillment of God’s word to the prophet Isaiah   some 700 years before that: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight” (Matthew 3:1-3 & Isa. 40:3-5).

When Mary heard the specific word God had for her, she could not fathom how she could bear a son not having been with any man. The special son, whose name was to be Jesus, would be called the Son of the Most High, and he would have the throne of David, reign over Israel forever, and his kingdom would be everlasting (Read God’s word to David – 2 Samuel 7:16). These words had significant eternal impact, not only for her personally but also for Israel and the rest of the world.  Gabriel told her about Elizabeth’s miracle of having a son beyond child-bearing age. He affirmed that no word of God shall ever fail when He has declared it. So, Mary received what God said and believed it – “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be according to your word.” This encounter reveals prophecy being fulfilled. Isaiah prophesied that a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel – God with us (Isa. 7:14).  Believing and submitting to the Lord’s plan must have meant ridicule and exclusion by family and friends given the society she lived in, and under Jewish law, she could be stoned. Remember, Gabriel greeted her with two significant phrases: “you who are highly favored” and “The Lord is with you.” These words of covering and comfort carried weight because the Law Maker Himself assured her of His presence.  He also revealed and assured Joseph of His plan and His protection.

Response: Every event about the birth of Jesus is evidence that God’s words are reliable. When God spoke to the prophets like Isaiah and Micah hundreds of years before were coming to fruition in the birth of Jesus for a greater plan – to save and to reconcile.  As we commemorate the birth of Jesus, let us read and hear what He has to say to us today. Remember: None of his words ever fail. His message to the world does not change.   What God said to Mary and Zechariah, He accomplished it. What God speaks to you today and each day forward, you know that you can trust Him. This year, as you sing carols, celebrate, and read, consider how you hear His story and His words.  Do you believe why He came into this world? Will you read the story of his birth with a desire to know Him for yourself? 

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for the reminder that every word you have spoken and continue to speak will be accomplished. You are trustworthy. Help me to trust you and trust what you say in Scripture because you are the truth. You came that I might have new life. If I have difficulty believing you and what you say, help me today to believe you. You have proven throughout history that what you say comes to pass. Refresh my celebration this year with a renewed faith in your word and renewed love for you because you came to give me hope and life everlasting. I also pray for those I know who may not know that your words are true and never fail. Speak to them, Lord, so they will come to know the truth that they may have new life in you.  In the name of Jesus, the unchanging God ~ AMEN. 

Written by Irene Prabhu Das