Advent Devotion for December 8
Candle Lighter says: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.”
Response: “Before you were born I set you apart.”
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 1:4-10
4 The Lord gave me this message:
5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
10 Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down,
destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up
SOME THOUGHTS: The passage you have just read must remind you of several other passages of Scripture that pick up several of these same themes. Throughout the Bible, God spoke and lead His people by Prophets like Isaiah, Priests like Moses, and Kings like David, all of which God chose. There is a larger truth in this passage than the immediate situation. Prophets received direct messages from the Lord. As God speaks to Jeremiah He says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” It was King David who wrote those words in Psalm 139 some 300 plus years earlier. God knew them before they were born and He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb! In Jeremiah’s case God had a specific mission to speak to the nations on God’s behalf. The same can be said for Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1). One didn’t decide to be a prophet, God called them from before birth to the task! Some were willing; some were not (Jonah!). Jeremiah’s response was very similar to that of Moses at the burning bush. Moses, when called to speak on behalf of the Lord, made the same claim to the Lord. “I can’t speak for you.” Whereupon, God ordained that Moses’ brother Aaron be His spokesman. God gave His word to Moses, who then passed it on to Aaron, who spoke to the people. Isaiah, likewise reflected reluctance to be God’s mouthpiece to the people. Moses was afraid. Jeremiah was afraid. Isaiah was afraid. In each case God’s promise was that He would be with them. “Emmanuel,” God with us. Like Isaiah, God reached out and touched Jeremiah’s lips putting His words in the mouth of His prophet. When called by God, the response of each was the same. “Here I am,” were the words of Isaiah and Jeremiah in contrast to Moses’ words “Who am I to go?”
Finally, the passage closes with the call to the prophets to confront nations and kingdoms with the evil and idolatry residing among the peoples. The word from God was to repent and be healed. At this point you are probably wondering what all of this has to do with Advent! Throughout Scripture there were three distinctive leadership roles in which God interacted with His people; the Prophet, Priest, and King as we’ve just seen. They were never combined. In fact King Saul was removed as king because he assumed the role of priest. This passage in Jeremiah is a “shadow” of One who will be Prophet, Priest, and King, even Jesus the Messiah. Except the role of this Savior was determined in eternity for all eternity. The Prophet speaks in His Word. The Priest intercedes on your behalf as you read this. And the King has yet to come and set up His eternal Kingdom. For that we wait!
MUSIC: Ideo Gloria by St. Malachy’s Choir, Scotland (YouTube)
PRAYER: Jesus’ high Priestly prayer from John 17:1-5
1 Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.