Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

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Real, Day 8

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LUKE 3:1-2 | In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

Luke introduces John the Baptist’s ministry with a list of major figures, religious and political, who were in power when John began his work. These two verses are a bold and ironic assertion. Where was the action in the first century? Where was the divine purpose being worked out? Where should we look to see the most significant words and deeds?

Was it Rome where the Emperor reigned in power that was very nearly absolute? Was it the regional court of the procurator Pilate or the local royal rulers of the Herodian clan, Phillip and Lysanias and Herod? Was it in Jerusalem in the great temple?

No! The Word of the Lord came to John, an unknown upstart in the wilderness. God acts and speaks with absolute freedom. He is independent of all human structures of authority, and he has a penchant for showing this independence by choosing odd and unlikely messengers.

Has God ever used an unlikely messenger to speak to you?

Have you ever been an unlikely messenger to someone else?

 

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Real, Day 7

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ISAIAH 41:1, 8-13 | Listen to me in silence, O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, then let them speak; let us together draw near for judgment. But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Yes, all who are incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.”

We tend to think of judgement individually, as a moment of personal accountability. It is like a court appearance or a summons to the principal’s office. But Judgement is also a world-wide reckoning. Many people in our world suffer from oppressive evils, such as brutal regimes. Some live under the control of groups that despise them for their ethnicity or their religious convictions.

For many of the exploited, Judgement means release from captivity and relief from injustice.

Read our passage and pray for all in our world whose suffering elicits God’s sympathy and eventually his Judgement.

 

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