Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday, 19 April 2013 ~ Roxie

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Judges 5,6; Psalm 79; John 11
Today's scripture focus is Luke 1:15-17

I must apologize to the early morning devo doers. The calving busyness has not let up, though I am not so bone deep weary as 2 weeks ago, but I did let my energy get so drained that I could not finish this post last night...or even early this morning. I do hope that the result is, at least, coherent....and then, of course, my internet decides today is a good day to be finnicky. So sorry.



Luke 1:15-17
15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

I know that we are not studying the Old Testament at the moment, but I have always loved how the Old and the New weave together; with little snippets here and there of threads that connect to reveal a beautiful synergy...more beautiful and intricate together than any part alone. These verses are another example. In the tradition of Isaac, Joseph, Samuel and Samson, a woman struggling with the shame and guilt of infertility and the soul-deep longing for motherhood, is given a positive answer to the prayer that she wept so often in private away from scornful, pitying eyes. Her womb is to be filled, and then her arms. Her shame is not only to be taken away, but her son will be born with his path already sketched out...proclaimed to his doubting papa by a messenger of the Living God. 

After a long period of silence from God, no king, no judges, no prophets, an angel declares to an elderly man that his also elderly wife will give birth to a son who, not only “will be great in the sight of the Lord”, butwill be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Here is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work as God sets the next stage of His plan for His creation in motion, preparing the way for the Lord, His beloved Son, Jesus. In the ways of the prophets of old, the Lord calls a man to turn His chosen people back to Him, to teach repentance and to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord”. The Lord was ready to make a huge move and needed His people to be at least a little bit aware; to at least hear a warning so no one can say there was none...and so hearts would be ready for His next show of power and love.

It is interesting how only part of the rules for the Nazirite (no grapes or grape products, fresh or fermented; no haircuts; no exposure to corpses) are spoken of here: “He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.” Is the lack of wine or fermented drink linked to the presence of the Holy Spirit? Is it related to being “great in the sight of the Lord”? Is it a sacrifice that the Lord asks of John as a reminder of his close walk with Him? Whatever the case may be, it is part of the Old Testament Nazirite vows. A Nazirite, according to Numbers 6, is a man or woman who “wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the Lord”. Some of these vows were for just a time (Numbers 6 describes the extensive offerings and ceremony required at the end of this period) and some were for life, such as in the case of Samson and John the Baptist, when their mamas were told, even before their birth, about the special relationship their boys would have with their God. (aside: I sometimes wonder, as well, if the pictures painted of or the actors that portray Jesus have long hair as a subtle query as to His own Naziritism, though the Bible does not support this...at least not that I can find).

John was not only to live as a Nazirite in terms of his diet, but the angel also proclaimed that “he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah, as a righteous man and priest, would have recognized this as a prophecy from Malachi (Malachi 4:5-6). His son was to be the fulfillment of prophecy, chosen to bring God's message into the world...a message relevant and urgent in Old Testament time, in New Testament time and our time. His son would be the Elijah of the new day, a prophet with a heart in tune with God and the power to call the people back to God, calling them to repentance. He would remind them of who they really are and what their hearts were made for...a relationship with the Living God, the Almighty who wants their hearts and their love, not sacrifices.

I know, for myself, that I need daily reminders of who I am in Christ. I need to be called to repentance and I need to be told over and over and over that God really does love me. And then, when I get the truth of His beautiful, all-encompassing love through my thick skull...and often even thicker heart, I can hear God more clearly, saying, “Be ready, beloved, be ready.”

I do not know what the future holds, but I do know that I need to be ready. I fail so often in my preparations, letting life’s distractions turn my heart from focusing my all on Jesus, but deep down in there, I can hear it...

“Be ready, Beloved, be ready.”

I pray desperately that I will be ready and listening each time He calls on me. And I pray the same for you.


Monday's scripture focus: Luke 1:18-25
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Judges 7,8

2 comments:

LaughingLady said...

Beautiful post, Roxie. (Seemed pretty coherent to me!) I wonder, had angels visited MY parents before my birth, what they would have told them about ME.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Absolutely beautiful post Roxie, thank you.

Pretty solid example of election here, too. God's sovereignty is truly amazing.