The Hope of the Promise Fulfilled
Wednesday - December 9th
"Hope is Here" Advent Devotionals - Day 9
Scripture to Read Today: Luke 1:67-79
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel because he has come to his people and redeemed them...
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago).
Luke 1:68, 70
In 1744, Charles Wesley wrote the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas Carols, "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus." The first verse combines the fulfillment of God's promise to His people through the Old Testament prophets and the redemption of Israel and humanity included in those prophecies. It always reminds me of a song associated with the birth of Jesus recorded in Luke chapter one. Read Luke 1:67-79 and then read Wesley's lyrics below.
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
God returned Zechariah, the priest's voice after he and his wife Elizabeth named their baby John. The priest was unable to speak because he failed to believe what the angel Gabriel had told him. By calling their miraculous baby John, they acknowledged they had embraced God's plan to give them a son in old age and use their son as the Messiah's promised forerunner.
Once he could speak, the first thing Zechariah did was to sing a song to the Lord. Much like Mary's song, Zechariah gave praise to the Lord and celebrated the soon coming Messiah.
Luke 1:67-79 records the beautiful lyrics of the priest's song. At the heart of it, the song rejoices in the redemption coming to God's people. A priest like Zechariah would have known the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah who would come and save His people. His song acknowledges that God was now using Elizabeth and him to be a part of the Messiah's arrival.
Wesley's first stanza of "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" reflects so much of what Zechariah said as recorded in Luke 1:68 & 70. "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel because he has come to his people and redeemed them...(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago)."
During this season of Advent, as we celebrate Jesus' birth, we need follow the example of both Zechariah and Charles Wesley. What did they do? They found hope in the fulfilled promise. We, too, can find hope in how God kept His Word to send His Messiah, the Redeemer. We are blessed by what Jesus did for us. That he fulfilled God's Word to His people centuries ago can, and should, bring hope to us as we read God's Word and believe it.
God's faithfulness to keep His word in sending the long-expected Jesus gives us hope today!