Sunday, November 26, 2017

New Beginnings: See? I am doing a new thing. --God

Advent, Week 1: Hope and Rose-Coloured Glasses
(purple candle: “Hope Candle”, a.k.a., “Prophecy Candle”)

What is hope? Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology  describes hope from a Scriptural perspective, noting that we are to hopefully wait for God with the assurance that He will work things out for our good (Ro 8:28). Keep in mind this definition of hope as we contemplate how it fits into the lives of God’s Chosen People—including us

When we consider daily life in previous generations, many of us are thankful for the advances in health, science, and technologies. Conversely, nostalgia causes many people to long for “the good old days” when "life was so much simpler." This yearning is known as “seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses,” which means that they only focus on the good things of the past, resulting in an unrealistic perspective. Thus, when we examine the history of the Israelites, we discover that their lives were richly steeped in cultural pride, religious tradition, and gains. However, they also faced many adverse circumstances, including daily hardships, such as struggles, slavery, and losses. [Doesn’t that sound like our lives?!] Yet after 400 years of slavery in Egypt and pleading with God for their freedom, God sent His ambassador, Moses, to announce the good news of a life-changing event -- deliverance from slavery! Finally, there was a spark of hope in their future! Yet, things would get worse before they would get better—doesn’t that reality resonate in our spirit? We know that the Hebrews did eventually leave Egypt, with many treasures being heaped on them by the Egyptian people. On the other hand, their departure did not occur until God had sent 10 plagues upon Pharaoh and his people, during which time Pharaoh’s overlords made life miserable for the Hebrew slaves. [See Exodus, chapters 1-17]

Still, they hadn't been long out of Egypt when they found themselves in an impossible situation, with the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh's army fast-approaching from behind. They were miraculously delivered when God parted the waters, making a dry path for them to walk on. But even after God demonstrated His mighty power and protection, whenever trouble arose, their frequent complaint was, "We would have been better off in Egypt with the devil that we know that the devil we don’t!” It’s obvious that they were passionately using their rose-coloured glasses! Furthermore, throughout the Israelites' history, we see this pattern of hopefulness and excitement when they are promised new beginnings and things are going well, followed by criticism, dejection, and hopelessness when things are difficult and unexpected. In other words, sometimes their faith was weak and sometimes it was strong—sound familiar?

We can, as the Hebrews did, relate to Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick….” But in Isaiah 9: 1-2 we discover that the Israelites' biggest hope and deepest longings—and ours-- were about to come true: those walking in obscurity walked into hope when they saw the Light, the Messiah.

Suggested Daily Scripture Readings:

Sunday        Micah 7:  1-7
Monday      Isaiah 9:1-5
Tuesday      Isaiah 43: 1-5a
Wednesday  Jeremiah 29: 11-14a
Thursday     Romans 15: 6-13
Friday         Psalm 130: 1-8
Saturday      1Peter 1: 3-8

Blessings& Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer, (Pastor)

No comments: