first week of advent 2020 on wednesday

O Holy Night

Devotional written by: Sylvia Maltzman

Open Up the Heavens

Isaiah 64:1 & 3

“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence…When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.”

One of the most difficult things a person can go through is a broken promise. Betrayals lead to broken hearts and broken people. We are all a little broken because human beings are flawed, and they will let us down.

However, there is someone who never breaks a promise, and will literally move heaven & earth in order to fulfill those promises. That someone is God, our Heavenly Father. He does work in mysterious ways, and regardless of what we may think, His timing is perfect.

All through the Old Testament — the five books of Moses, prophets, poetry, and history — we read of the promise of Messiah spoken by God, and we read of the human echo, the longing for the fulfillment of that promise. The pledge spoken to Eve in her downfall was the same promise Isaiah cried out hundreds of years after Eve, but hundreds of years before Messiah appeared.

Based on the words God spoke to her, Eve must have assumed the conquering Savior would come from her womb. Instead, He came from the long, twisting trail of her DNA down through the ages. Still a fulfillment of “your seed” — the promise still stands, accomplished at just the right time. And when Isaiah saw the sky open in his vision, still many years away from fulfillment, did he know how accurately he spoke, of tearing open the heavens and God Himself coming down?

In Luke 2:8, a single angel drenched in light first announced Messiah’s birth to a group of shepherds, which was amazing enough, but in verse 13, the heavens broke open just as Isaiah foretold: 

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”

Did those shepherds know they were witnessing the fulfillment of Isaiah’s longing heart? That their eyes were blessed with what Isaiah longed to see? At just the right time!

Did Mary know that her son Jesus was to be the “second Adam,” as Paul would soon refer to Him? In 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, Paul says that as sin came into the world through one man, “so in Christ all will be made alive.” Eve was “the mother of all living,” even though her sin brought death into the world. But Jesus was the “second Adam,” restoring life to humankind. So in a sense, that makes Mary the “second Eve,” because she was the mother of the Giver of life, the Redeemer Who would undo death. A second Adam and a second Eve! He didn’t forget! He made it happen at the appropriate time.

God has an amazing way of bringing everything full-circle! He knows the beginning from the end. He never speaks an idle word, and His wisdom is absolutely trustworthy. If He can work out all these details over thousands of years, He can surely handle the mess I make of my own life. Do we know how blessed we are, with God able to handle all those details? This is a good time of year, and a good time in history, to place those details in His sturdy carpenter’s hands and let Him build according to His plan.

As we anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus, we are standing in the sandals of everyone who awaited His birth long before us, from Eve to Isaiah and beyond. As we rejoice in the loving faithfulness of God, let’s realize that we stand shoulder to shoulder in God’s full circle across history with all the “whosoevers” who dared to believe that God would keep His word.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help me to recognize that Your wisdom is far above my knowledge, and Your ways are far above my ways. Help me to lose my pride and soften my heart to receive Your timing and Your grace, especially as these come to life in Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for the unspeakable gift of Messiah, the true Bread of Heaven. It’s in His name I pray. Amen.

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