22 Dec HOPE (ADVENT WEEK 4)
When God is about to do something great, our human estimates of size and power are always misguided. We forget that God does the miraculous through the small things and Bethlehem is an example of such.
Micah 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans or rulers of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
The name Micah, which means “Who is like [Yahweh]”, was a common name in the 8th Century B.C., which is the time period some believe Micah was active in his ministry. During this time, there were dynamics at work that led to Micah’s harsh prophecies as well as visions of hope for a people in distress and discouragement.
According to Ralph Smith in the New International Version Application Commentary, Bethlehem Ephratah was “the smallest, most insignificant clan in Judah.” Not only that, but the word used to describe Bethlehem in this passage is tsaìyr in the Hebrew, which Smith describes as, “not the regular word…for “little or small” but a word rarely used…a word that calls attention to the trifling or insignificant.”
Hope is coming and it’s starting from a small beginning.
Hebrews 11 describes men and women who all died in faith, not yet receiving things that were promised. They were living for a land not yet here, but for what God had shown them was coming. They continued to hold steadfast to the hope that God is faithful and is who He says He is.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
You are not alone.
You are surrounded by the hope of people before you. You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses that testify about the goodness of God. But there is a choice we have to make when we put our hope in Jesus.
Who are you choosing to listen to? Who are you choosing to be encouraged by? Who are you choosing to be surrounded by?
We have a choice to put aside the weight or to carry it around as a heavy burden on our shoulders. We are all running this race that we are called to run as followers of Jesus.
How can we expect to run the race when we are held down by weights with no hope?
Hope is here and there is freedom!
We have freedom. Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross came with freedom. We no longer have to carry around the weights, the stress, the offense, because He paid for it all on the Cross. He provided forgiveness so we could put the weights down.
Sin entangles you as you are trying to run the race and you are unable to do what God calls you to do. You have a choice to receive the hope and freedom that comes with Jesus.
He paid the price to save us, heal us, and deliver us!
Delivered means set free. When Jesus set us free on the cross, He didn’t tell us to go do all the work to make it true for us. He’s done it all already. We as believers have to stop walking around like there is no hope for freedom. As we approach the end of advent and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, remember that hope comes from the small beginnings, the daily choices we make.
Ask yourself this:
- What daily choices do you make that bring God’s goodness and hope instead of the world’s?
- Do you believe that Jesus came and died for us to be free?
- Do you believe you can be delivered and brought into a place of total freedom?