Monday, December 24, 2007

God's weakness, his real strength

Took me a while this morning to find an advent devotion that I wanted to spend some time on this morning. Found one here at I have NO idea what these folks are all about, but I liked the fact that they didn't focus on the ordinary day before Christmas advent readings. Psalm 46 was the focus of their devotion.

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah.
According to Alamoth. A Song.

1God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Mike writes:

Psalm 46 is a hymn to God’s strength. “We will not fear,” reads v. 2, “though the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” At times, this language about God’s strength turns violent: “He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire,” reads v. 10.
We don’t often associate Christmas Eve with God’s strength. It is a cozy holiday; in the eyes of the world, it is a time to celebrate the universal beauty of mother and child. In the eyes of the church, it is a time to celebrate God’s humility, not divine strength.
I read those words and I had to stop and think. You know...he's right. People think of Christmas, and they think of a baby in a manger. How cute. How totally non-threatening. It seems very far removed from Christ the Lord, Christ the Saviour, Christ the one who would live a life of teaching, miracles, death and resurrection. So far removed. So not like anything we really have to deal with. Most folks even have the wisemen coming to see a baby Jesus, not a toddler Jesus. It's all about the baby...and not really about God.

Mike continues:

Yet what if we were to recognize that Christmas Eve was in fact the greatest show of God’s strength the world has ever known? It was not earthquake, wind, and fire; it was not the raising up of one nation and the dashing of another; it was not the divine voice atop the mountain, frightening the people of Israel. Instead, ...... God was strong enough to come as a helpless Baby, ....... Of all the works of the Lord, none was more awesome than this.

What if we learned to define strength in this way? ....... But what if we started to believe that the strong don’t always look strong? What if we believe that the true strength of God lay not in His ability to overwhelm us, but to give Himself completely away for us?

........ It is the strong who are comfortable giving themselves away, knowing that in God they will always have enough.

The divine strength of God, the strong arm of Israel, lays in a manger tonight .......Can we find it in our hearts to give ourselves away like our strong God?

God tells us in his word that the weak are strong if they depend upon him (think that's in Philippians but not entirely sure). God showed his weakness to us in a baby, and those who know his word, know that in that baby holds his greatest strength. A Saviour, born to save us from our sins. A Saviour who can free us from all the wrongness that lies within us. That's what that safe, non-threatening baby represents you know...that power of God to save us from our sin. That power of God that demands an answer from us. Will we heed that call?

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