Advent Devotion, 12/13/22
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, 8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. 10 The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.
Even as teachers may sometimes have mixed feelings about being introduced by a less-than-stellar former student as “their favorite professor,” so also do I wonder if Yahweh was delighted to be introduced as the “God of Jacob.” Why be stuck with a name that associates Him with a fickle, deceptive, often small-minded character? Why not be the God of David, or of Daniel, or someone of noble identity?
The balance of our Psalm today tells us why. Ours is a God who has a heart for all those who find themselves on the short end of life’s stick, who find that life doesn’t seem to go the way they’d hoped. This is the God who raises up those who have been beaten down, who brings light into grief-darkened souls, who brings justice to the oppressed, and sight to the blind. This is the God of the Charlie Browns of life as well as the Peyton Mannings.
Remember that even though Americans may “love a winner,” God also remembers and cares for the lost and the losers. Nietzsche may have thought this makes Christianity decadent and weak, but it is actually the source of God’s world-transforming power in Christ Jesus.
God of Jacob, thank you that you love me, with all of my warts and foibles. Even as I ask you to guide me through this day, help me to be an instrument of your grace to those who are forgotten, oppressed, or simply in need of a hug. May the light of Jesus the Messiah not only shine in me but shine through me this day. To your glory and honor. Amen.
ADVENT PLAYLIST SONG
“When Your Kingdom Comes,” Paul Zach, “Sorrow’s Got a Hold On Me”