But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Galatians 3:22
So much can be known of the Lord when we start from the correct vantage point: God is good, and He does good. (Psalm 119:68)
We call to mind that David, shepherd king of Israel, knew this to be true long before His descendent, Jesus of Nazareth, was born. Israel, and David, personally, had been privileged to travel with God, with His Presence, to see His miracles, to experience His victories in war and even His discipline when necessary. Other nations might deny Him; Israel could not, not for long. When they grew idolatrous, He came and got them and turned them again.
Jehovah had determined to have a people for Himself. Israel would benefit, sometimes despite herself, and one of the greatest blessings of all was that the Hebrew people did not have to waste generations and strength trying to be good enough to please God. They didn’t have to pretend they were without sin. It was for them to stay very close to the truth of their iniquity and the reality of atonement as provided in the system of sacrifice and the faithfulness of God’s covenant. They knew, thousands of years before Christ, that the “life is in the blood.”
God dealt severely with His people Israel at times, and on a good day, purity of body and soul were never left to chance or interpretation. Nevertheless, their national faith knew Him to be the good God, the only wise God, the God of their salvation. This alone was enough to set them apart … far and away apart from their neighbors.
The man and his wife who traveled to Bethlehem to register for the census decreed by Caesar Augustus were products of this nation, this chosen people, of stubborn and stiff-necked ancestors and equally stubborn men and women of no compromise when it came to righteousness.
During this Advent season, let us determine that we will celebrate as those alive from the dead, as those who know themselves to have been enemies of God, now redeemed from our own destructions and especially our own unbelief. Would you, would I, have said, “Be it unto me according to Your word” as Mary did? I don’t want to think … ! But then, we were not raised among a people chosen as the Jews were chosen. We haven’t seen, but we believe (John20:29,) and now we rejoice … to just those, to those who believe what they hear, comes the greatest blessing of all. We will not come up short in the fullness of the restoration of all things. As shut up as ever we were in sin, how much more are we fortified, walled in, protected, covered and shielded by the faith in which we stand.
View of Bethlehem
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