In every Christmas pageant I’ve been part of, this song always seems to appear. Try explaining to children what some of these lyrics mean! It’s easy to point to the angels, because after all they are the ones proclaiming the message of the song.
Kids understand angels it seems. We adults may have a harder time wrapping our minds around them. At least for me, being visited by an angel would be a huge honor and definite high point in my life. That is, once I got past the “fear and trembling,” which seems to be a common reaction! Read Luke 2:8-14.
Praise the Lord! Our reading from Psalms today is powerful praise and worship pointing to God’s mercy. This is especially true for those who “have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.” I certainly believe God is most my most trustworthy advocate, and my hope is secure.
When I imagine God as my “helper,” my whole day shifts. Getting things done and figuring out best practices is so much easier when I ask God to help me. I’m pretty sure it works that way all the time. Sometimes I just forget to ask! How many hours have I wasted doing things the “long” way rather than asking God to show me the “best” way from the get-go?
We continue to witness history being made as Solomon, in front of all Israel, prays this dedication. I love the clues we can get from this prayer for our own prayer life. Solomon says, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”
Did you notice how he starts out this prayer? Solomon speaks to God with admiration and awe. Wouldn’t you agree this is a great way to start a prayer? Get our hearts and mind straight on the truth. It will also get God’s attention!
For the gift Hannah received from the Lord, she was full of joy. It overflowed into this beautiful song. The first couple verses (1-2) could be a song of praise we all sing to God for how he is working in our lives. Reread it again as if this is your praise!
I love the sense of peace that flows over me as I read those words. God is our rock, steady and strong. We may be facing all sorts of tormentors and temptations, but we can cling to God, our rock. I think of Isaiah 40:29 which reads, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” That theme is running through this song of praise as well, and it’s truth is comforting.
In the first chapter of Judges, we read about Othniel. He had won the privilege of marrying Caleb’s daughter by conquering some land. Othniel was now both a nephew and son-in-law to Caleb. Had God been preparing Othniel for such a time as this? We hear “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him.” With the Lord’s help, Othniel was able to have victory over the King of Aram followed by 40 years of peace.
There doesn’t appear to be much to the story of Othniel reported beyond this. We do see the first instance of the 4-part pattern playing out here. God was listening for the cries of his people despite being angry with them. I think of a parent being on the alert to rescue their children at any age if there is a cry for help.