Before we point fingers and wonder why the Israelites kept going astray, we have to realize we do the same thing. We know what’s best for us, and yet we often do just the opposite. Think about exercising or eating healthy. We know those are good things — but then sinking your teeth into a juicy burger or savoring the last bite of your favorite calorie- packed dessert can be very alluring.
For the Israelites, they were tempted by something that wasn’t good for them—false gods. God had warned them, and yet the pattern repeats itself once again. God’s choice of a rescue looks a little different this time. We meet Gideon, a farmer. And God sends an angel of the Lord to say to Gideon, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
Today’s reading could be out of one of the popular super hero movies of our day. Can’t you just picture all the special effects?! And if you were in John’s time, you might be thinking more along the lines of the dragon, Python who was chasing Leto, the mother of Apollo. The images in today’s reading open up Act 2 of Revelation. We saw Act 1 conclude as Chapter 11 came to a magnificent conclusion with victory! Today we see how the battle between good and evil has been ongoing. We might even think our reading today as a flashback.
It’s helpful to keep in mind Revelation does not exist on a time line. We are to glean wisdom to prepare ourselves for our own battles with evil. When you read today’s passage, did you see the virgin Mary as the pregnant woman? She was certainly blessed among women. The nativity looks a lot different in this account, a totally different representation of the incarnation. It’s like a behind the scenes glimpse of what happened when God took on flesh as an infant. There was a war in heaven going on.
I hope we all know the most important thing is to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Beyond that, this passage reminds us of others who should receive our affection as well. As our author closes this letter, he wants to remind us all of what should be obvious but often forgotten.
Love one another. That can sometimes be hard. Especially loving those who are hard to love. We all had someone come to mind just now. Maybe it’s the crotchety neighbor or the busybody at church or the obnoxious, loud-mouth co-worker. We are brothers and sisters after all, and we should love each other as family. Love as Jesus loves. Continue reading “Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover”
I don’t know about you, but I have always had a fascination with angels. In the Bible, we’ve seen them appear with messages from God–think of the angel who told Mary she was going to give birth to God’s son, for example. They sing praise–think of Jesus’ birth that night in Bethlehem. In our world, we hear stories of people who say they have encountered an angel. Later in the book of Hebrews is the familiar passage about entertaining angels unaware (look for that in Chapter 13).
Here, the writer is quick to distinguish a hierarchy between angels and God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The focus on Christ’s superiority continues, and the writer uses Scripture to speak of Jesus’ identity and Lordship. Jesus is Lord, and there is nothing or nobody greater than him. Angels have an audience with God, but their authority and power is not equal to Jesus. Continue reading “Hebrews 1:5-14 – What About Angels”
What a night! A blessed night. If you’re like me, you read these words and pictured a certain Christmas pageant from years gone by telling of the Christmas story. Maybe you even took part as an angel or shepherd. Sadly, the church I went to as a child didn’t do a nativity play. There wasn’t the anticipation each year of who will get to play Mary or an angel, etc.
When I was children’s ministry director, I made sure there was Christmas play each year, and that the story of Christ’s birth was central. So many programs written for kids these days are about snowflakes or presents or other more “holiday” type themes. Continue reading “Luke 2:8-20 – Gloria!”