Advent Devotion for December 31
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 72:10-14
The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands
will bring him tribute.
The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba
will bring him gifts.
All kings will bow before him,
and all nations will serve him.
He will rescue the poor when they cry to him;
he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
He feels pity for the weak and the needy,
and he will rescue them.
He will redeem them from oppression and violence,
for their lives are precious to him.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 2:1-11
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
SOME THOUGHTS: King Solomon was the author of Psalm 72. He was quite possibly the most materially wealthy king ever, with billions in gold and silver. Kings from all over the known world came to see him and hear of his wisdom and see his wealth. Solomon was likewise aware of the covenant God had made with his father, David. And so this portion of Scripture refers not only to Solomon but to the Messiah. It was prophesied nearly a thousand years before Christ that kings from the east would bring gifts and bow down to Israel’s anointed King, the Messiah. That is precisely what happened. There is something else unique that happened here. The kings worshiped the child. Throughout the Old Testament, people were taught to worship God alone. In fact, when anyone worshiped something or someone other than God, there were severe reprimands. Here, the kings worship the babe and there is affirmation as they bring gifts to the infant King. The deity of Christ is established from the beginning of his days on earth. In addition, we learn that Jesus has come not only for his people, the Jews, but he has come to bring salvation to all peoples everywhere in the world, fulfilling the promise to Abraham some 2,000 years earlier. Don’t ever forget God’s overall plan. As his children, we are part of what continues to unfold to this day. We are part of the same story that involved the kings worshiping the infant Jesus. We are just a few thousand chapters later in the Book of Life.
MUSIC: “We Three Kings”
Alone with none but thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear, when thou art near O king of night and day?
More safe am I within thy hand
Than if a host did round me stand.
- Columba, c.521 - 597 (Read more)