God has called a people to Himself. Abraham was called by God and set apart to be the father of a new nation. This nation would belong to God. He would be their God and they would be His people. Several promises were made to Abraham. One of these promises is that all nations would be blessed through him. We are partakers in this promise
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
God formed a covenant with His people. He called them into total devotion. He called them to walk with Him. The people were to worship God and to raise up generations that would love Him, follow Him, worship Him and reflect His nature to all the nations. What about us? Don’t we have the same yearning to know God that ancient civilizations felt? I know that this passage in Deuteronomy resonates with me. But, don’t we find ourselves falling short? I know the Old Testament is full of those who found themselves inadequate to live up to the call to devotion and holiness. We see David cry out to God after he himself is found wanting.
Psalm 51:1-3 (CSB)
1 Be gracious to me, God,
according to your faithful love;
according to your abundant compassion,
blot out my rebellion.
2 Completely wash away my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I am conscious of my rebellion,
and my sin is always before me.
Do you ever feel this way too? Sin is a universal state. What is a person to do? God had been promising a new day for centuries. The Israelites lived with hopeful expectation that someday the Messiah would come. His coming would bring about change. They desperately wanted deliverance. We want deliverance also. What deliverance are we in need of? We needed a new heart. They needed a new heart. God promises change would come.
Ezekiel 36:24-27 (CSB)
24 “‘For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.
We entering in to the Advent season. Can you feel the expectation? Hope has come. The Bible speaks of hope in a different sense than we usually think about it. When we hope, the outcome is uncertain. We want things to go a certain way, so we “hope” for that result, knowing that it may or may not happen. The Bible uses hope differently. Hope in the Bible is an expectation that a certain thing will happen. We are relying on that conclusion and are waiting for it to come. The Israelites knew the Messiah would come some day. They were looking expectantly for His arrival.
Take time during this season to pause and remember that our hope is in Christ. Our ability to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” can be realized only through Christ. It is through Him we are forgiven and it is through Him we get a new heart and His Spirit within us. We have an expectation of His continuing presence in our lives. We know that all things are and will be completed in Him. During this busy holiday, remember that we have a hope. We have Christ. Try to refrain from the constant looking forward to the holiday. Seek to enjoy the journey through the season. Seek out to live in the present, in His presence.