If you got hauled off into exile, you’d certainly be hoping for them to spare your life. By the time this group of 74 people consisting of dignitaries, priests, and even poor folk were collected and taken to the king, many others were already hostage in Babylon. Would these people have knowledge of where they were headed from hearing word from those exiled or was it a total unknown?
No matter what these people knew or didn’t know, they endured emotional upheaval which led to the resolution of death. These prisoners would not be captive for long. Certainly they had seen death all around them when others had been taken or attacked. Now it was their turn. This was not a pleasant time to be in Jerusalem.
Look around your community. Do you see big houses in one area and smaller, run-down ones in another area? We do see that clear division between people based on their economic standing. God’s love and mercy is available for all, the rich and the poor!
Where’s the wealth? Paul suggests we are wealthy simply by being believers who will inherit the kingdom. “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” Ponder that verse for just a moment. You may need to put aside your current financial needs for just a moment lest they interfere with your feeling the enormous blessing you have as a follower of Jesus. Great wealth indeed!
This week our texts have been focusing on the importance of Listening to God’s Word. This is one of the passages that always comes to mind for me when I think about the gift we have in our hands—the Bible.
Some of us have been acquainted with the Bible since childhood. Others may know the Bible exists but have no idea yet how precious it is. My heart breaks for those who are not reading God’s word and listening for his voice. They are missing out on trusting Jesus for our salvation. “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”
I’ve always thought of this carol as a great lullaby. This is a song that you have to start on a higher note since it starts at its high point. (Do I sound like a musician!) I’m picturing the hand motions I’ve taught children over the years to help them remember the words to the song. I love how spending time with each of these Christmas carols has opened up the flood of memories!
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.