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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent, Day 12

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JOURNEY to the MANGER: Advent 2010
PSALM 37:1-18
William David Spencer

The roads from Jerusalem were well-journeyed, so news was everyone’s constant traveling companion. One Passover the news was cataclysmic, as two believers updated a passing stranger about the recent execution of the powerful healer, Jesus. Imagine their surprise when the stranger responded by showing them that Jesus’ persecution was prophesied everywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures.

One place he might have taken them was to Psalm 37, where David’s victimization so paralleled the recent suppression of Jesus. Pursued by the chief ruler, the beleaguered David warned his followers not to dread or envy the power of their adversaries, but to trust and delight in the power of God’s justice, knowing it will ultimately triumph (vs. 1-4). Therefore, David counseled, be patient and don’t let anger turn you into a replica of your oppressor (vs. 5-8), because God is working to destroy their power and give the righteous everlasting victory (vs. 10-18).

The hope the travelers to Emmaus were seeking (Luke 24:21) was alive in the one walking with them. How often in persecution, disaster, catastrophe, disappointment do we worry, despair or even envy those who are powerful enough to make us miserable? These are the moments we need to realize that Jesus is walking beside us and bringing us a hope which passes all understanding.

The lesson David teaches in Psalm 37 and Jesus explained to the travelers is that many of life’s journeys are filled with difficulty and suffering. But the God who has called us is more powerful than any opposition that we face, whether temporary or terminal, and God’s hope is eternal.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

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