Monday, December 5, 2022
Reader: “The Light of the world is coming.”
Response: “Jesus is that Light.”
Scripture: Psalm 27:1-6
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
We live in uncertain times. People have said that for thousands of years. The phrase hardly registers, does it? Of course we do! When were times ever “certain?” Never. Yet we live with a hope of certainty and are knocked off center when things become uncertain. The last couple of years have featured a heightened sense of uncertainty. Though I am writing this in August, as you read today’s devotional I am fairly certain that things are not peaceful and calm around the nations of the world!
The season of advent is about disruption, disruption of life, of set ideas, of power, and our understanding of faith. The baby from Bethlehem came knocking many things off center, actually, life itself. The certainty of Herod’s rule was in question. The rabbi’s rigid understanding of the Torah and the Law was challenged. The political structures were being redefined. The cultural value of children, women, servants, in fact, all peoples took a seismic hit. Did you notice how Jesus’ presence and words affected all the strata of society both then and now?
When people are “off center” they can become fearful and angry. We certainly see evidence of some unique and illogical behaviors and attitudes today. Yet, deep within we have a longing that things should be right, be fair, be honorable, that people should tell the truth, and should treat each other well. It is interesting that when things are off center, the old ugly sinful nature rises to the top rather quickly. The psalmist here gives much-needed words of help.
He reminds us that the Lord is the sanctuary; the Lord is the fortress. Notice that the safety, the protection comes when the psalmist is in the sanctuary. In the Lord’s presence is where we gain the true and clearest perspective. I am all too often speculating and fretting “in my own presence.” Note the verbs in v.5,6. “He will conceal me,” “he will hide me,” “he will place me out of reach,” “he will hold my head.” As we await that great day of the Lord’s return, let us abandon our own “presence” and anxieties and find our place of certainty in him who is our light and salvation. Certainty is found only in Jesus.
Music: “Come Thou Long-expected Jesus” Meredith Andrews
Prayer:Be, Lord, within me to strengthen me . . . without me to preserve me . . . over me to shelter me . . . beneath me to support me . . . before me to direct me . . . behind me to bring me back . . . round about me to fortify me. –Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)