“So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,” says the Lord. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them.” Jeremiah 30:10, NLT
There is no justice when there is no judgment against sin and evil. Righteous judgment is the proof that justice will always prevail. The story of the Jews is a revelation of the loving justice of God. When the Jews broke their covenant with God, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and they were exiled to Babylon. These were the consequences of their breaking of their covenant with God which their prophets had been warning them about. The prophet Isaiah had drawn their attention to the darkness and despair of disobedience and false worship:
“Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown into the darkness.” 1
As they were going through a time of terror where there was no peace, the prophet Jeremiah encouraged them with the hope that God will restore them to the Kingdom of God where there is a life of peace and quiet:
“For my people will serve the Lord their God and their king descended from David – the king I will raise up for them. So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,” says the Lord. ”For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them.2
The history of the Jews is God’s Story of Salvation. As they lived in a land of deep darkness, the prophet Isaiah gave them the message of hope – that the God who they worshiped is a Mighty God who will rule with fairness and justice as a Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father and a Prince of Peace.3 This promise was fulfilled when Jesus Christ came to inaugurate the Kingdom of Heaven in our world more than 2000 years ago.
As followers of Christ, we are to establish the Kingdom of Heaven in our hearts as we wait for the new heaven and new earth where God’s home is among His people.4 In these end times we are to make every effort to live peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in God’s sight.5 We have been called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light and chosen to be His royal priests.6
Advent is therefore a time to reflect on our heart of worship. What we worship determines how we live and our lifestyle reveals who or what we worship. We are a w.o.l.f. when our worship is without obedience, love and faith. True worship is the response of our heart to the love of God. When the Lord is our Shepherd, we are the sheep of God’s pasture and our faith in Christ flows into love, obedience and worship.
When I am living in the Egypt of my life, I am a wolf – worshiping God without obedience, love or faith. My heart is a path as I seek the praise of men. In the wilderness of my life, I am a goat – seeking to be the greatest of all time. My heart is stony and under the control of a wandering mind. In the Promised Land, I am a sheep – seeing heaven everyday in every person. However, my heart may be filled with weeds when I am tempted by greed. In Babylon, the challenge is to be a lamb of God for the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.7 I need to pray for my heart to be the fertile soil for God’s Word to bear the fruit of love.
To live in Babylon is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice so that we will not conform to the world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind.8. To do so, we need to observe our wandering mind by being still in silence and solitude. In stillness we invite the Holy Spirit to show us where we need to change. To see the emotional clutter of our egos in our minds. To see how we are withdrawing from making the changes we need or fighting the things that are beyond our control. To follow Christ and be a lamb of God as we pray to be a channel of God’s love, joy and peace:
“Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there’s sadness ever joy
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.”9
Lord, deepen the roots of my faith so that my life will flow with obedience, love and worship.
- What does my lifestyle reveal about my heart of worship?
- What does it mean to be a lamb of God?
- What keeps me from true worship?
Song of Praise:
Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace
- Isaiah 8:20-22, NLT
- Jeremiah 30:9-10, NLT
- Isaiah 9:6, NLT
- Revelations 21:1-4, NLT
- 2 Peter 3:13-14, NLT
- 1 Peter 2:9, NLT
- Matthew 5:10, NKJV
- Romans 12:2, NKJV
- Make Me A Channel of Your Peace