Christmas 📜 Isaiah 7:14 – Immanuel

“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel
(which means ‘God is with us’). “ (Isaiah 7:14)

I love that the name Immanuel means “God is with us.” What a perfect name for Jesus. He came into the dark world he loved so much to be with us, to be one of us. Knowing Jesus is with us gives us hope for tomorrow and makes the world a little brighter.

It’s interesting to know the back story of this prophecy from Isaiah. Right before this, Isaiah had been speaking with King Ahaz. You may recall Ahaz was one of those wicked kings that did detestable things. (2 Kings 16) It was during his 16-year reign that Ahaz feared a takeover by Israel and it’s ally, Assyria. God’s message through Isaiah had been that no invasion would take place.

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1 Chronicles 3:1-24 – David’s Family

Read 1 Chronicles 3:1-24

Our last reading identified that King David descended from Judah, one of Jacob’s twelve sons. Today’s reading gives us a snapshot of David’s family. He was quite the fruitful one, bearing 19 children. But only seven of the moms are listed here, and this number doesn’t even account for sons born to concubines! And only one daughter, Tamar, is named. That was quite a household!

The Chronicler doesn’t follow every offshoot of David’s family line here. That would be exhausting. The names he did include were meaningful, displaying the Davidic line. The Chronicler spends more time on David’s family because this was the royal dynasty that will never end.

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Ecclesiastes 8:2-8 – Obedience

Read Ecclesiastes 8:2-8

Who do you obey? Solomon was the third of Israel’s kings, and he would counsel us to obey the king. Does that tell us that people were unruly and not respectful in his day? When I read these words, I thought immediately of King Jesus because that’s who I obey. I don’t think Solomon was referring to God here, however.

For now, I’m going to focus my reflection on obedience to our reigning king, Jesus. He is certainly “backed by great power.” God’s power is without limit. Solomon speaks of death, too, and that segues nicely when we think of the power that raised Jesus from the dead.

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Ezra 7:11-26 – A King’s Provision

Read Ezra 7:11-26

This letter to Ezra contains many blessings from this pagan king. King Artaxerxes may not be an Israelite, but he certainly holds God in high regard. Many believers don’t have the same respect as this king. The time of exile must have made quite an impact on the kingly leadership of that day. Those who stayed faithful became tremendous testimonies to the majesty and grace of the great God we serve.

Anytime we can share our witness with others, we can make a difference. You never know who is watching. You never know how God is going to use any of the people you encounter. Ezra wanted to study and bring awareness to his own people, yet he was clearly spreading a message to non-believers as well.

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Zechariah 9:9-10 – Triumph!

Read Zechariah 9:9-10

Don’t you love this passage?! I can almost hear the shouts of “Hosanna” while palm branches are waving about. It’s always great to know where the Old Testament prophecies are that Jesus fulfilled. Here Zechariah announces the coming messianic king.

When the people heard “victorious” and “righteous,” they likely pictured their messiah would be a warrior king. Why then, would he be riding on a donkey’s colt? To be mighty in battle, that king would ride a spirited stallion, a war horse.  Note the text says nothing about warfare.

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