Help us Understand
You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. - Isaiah 48:8
It is painful to remember that to a certain degree this accusation may be laid at the door of believers, who too often are in some measure spiritually insensitive. We may well bemoan the fact that we do not hear the voice of God as we should: "You have never heard." There are gentle motions of the Holy Spirit in the soul that are unheeded by us: There are whisperings of divine command and of heavenly love that are equally unobserved by our dull minds. Sadly, we have been carelessly ignorant—"You have never known." There are spiritual matters that we ought to have seen, corruptions that have been allowed to develop unnoticed, tender affections that are being harmed like flowers in the frost, untended by us, glimpses of the Lord that we might have perceived if we had not barricaded the windows of our soul.
But we "have never known." As we think of this we are truly and deeply humbled. How we must adore the grace of God as we realize from the context that all of our folly and ignorance was foreknown by God, and notwithstanding that foreknowledge, He has still been pleased to deal with us in mercy! Ponder and admire the marvelous sovereign grace that could have chosen us in the sight of all this! Wonder at the price that was paid for us when Christ knew what we would be!
He who hung upon the cross foresaw us as unbelieving, backsliding, cold of heart, indifferent, careless, lax in prayer, and yet He said, "I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Because you are precious in My eyes and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life." How wonderful and glorious is this redemption when we think how sinful we are! Holy Spirit, give us from now on a hearing ear and an understanding heart!
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Zechariah 3
verse 2 John 6
Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas
What is Christmas? For many it is a time for holidays, parties, family gatherings, gifts, meals together, music, and special events. For others it can mean unwanted pressure, an increased sense of loneliness, family squabbles, and crowded shops. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas takes place at the onset of winter with its cold weather and short days. There are more incidents of depression at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. It is the best of times for some, but the worst of times for others, to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.
The birth of Jesus divided history into two major epochs. Until the dawn of our hyper-sensitive age, even the way we dated events underscored this. From time immemorial, every day, week, month, and year has been described as either “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) or “A.D.” (Anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”). Even the modern, pluralistic style abbreviations, B.C.E. (“Before the Common Era”) and C.E. (“Common Era”) cannot obliterate the indelible impress of Jesus birth. For what makes the “Common Era” so “common”? And what explains the dividing line date? The answer is the same: the birth of Jesus. At the very center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. And He does so because He is at the center of God’s story.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.