Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Reader: “O come, O come Emmanuel,”
Response: “And lead us into everlasting life.”
Scripture: Psalm 27:7-14
Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
O God of my salvation!
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.
Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path,
for my enemies are waiting for me.
Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
with every breath they threaten me with violence.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
These first days of advent have been concerned, for the most part, about the Parousia (the Second Coming) of the Lord. Jesus told stories to illustrate the importance of watching and waiting for his return. (Luke 12:35-49) While the first part of this psalm deals with confidence, security, and trust in the Lord’s care (yesterday’s devotional), today we look at the last half of the psalm, where David calls for the Lord’s mercy, presence, and guidance during times of waiting.
Since it’s been about 3,000 years since David’s words were penned and another 2,000 since Jesus told us to watch and wait, we may be tempted to dismiss Jesus’ Return as more of an idea than a reality. We need to put impatience aside and get outside of our brief life of a few decades.
Abraham was told he would be the father of millions of people. When he died, he had exactly one promised son. Isaac was it! What do you think he thought about God’s promise? He still believed. Look how long it was from the promise of a Redeemer to Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior. Thousands of years. It was 430 years until the Israelites were delivered from the Egyptians. It seems there is a good deal of waiting, of dead time, in the Bible. We must understand that God’s time frame is not like ours. There is no “clock” to his time, just the right time. As Habakkuk says, “it will not be late.” (Hab.2:3) And everything God has said will happen, happens! Our job? Wait. What do we do while we wait?
I recall taking many cross country trips with the boys and Nancy. There was always the “Dad, how long til we get there?” Then we’d see a stretch of road before us in New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, or Texas that was straight as an arrow extending a full five or six or more miles ahead. We’d guess how far it was to the distant ridge. But you know what happened? By the time we got to the ridge ten or twelve minutes later, we’d forgotten to look at the odometer! We had gotten interested in counting antelopes in the distance, the number of cars in a train, an unusual rock formation, or a flattened armadillo in the road! In other words, the waiting involved being involved and paying attention to the present. That’s what God asks us to do as we await his second coming. Pay attention to the moment.
Music: “Wake, Awake for NIght is Flying” Luther College Nordic Choir
Bring us, O Lord God, at the last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but an equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity, in the habitations of thy majesty and thy glory, world without end. Amen. ―John Donne (1571-1631)