The law was but a shadow of the good things to come. – Hebrews 10:1
Did you ever make shadow figures on the wall as a child? By placing your hands in front of a light, you could turn them into bunnies or alligators or dogs or whatever else your imagination could think of. But those shadows couldn’t show you everything. They couldn’t show you the bunny’s soft fur or the alligator’s scary teeth because they were just that – shadows of the real thing.
In the same way, the law in the Old Testament served as a shadow of what was to come for God’s people. This was not a bad thing, as shadows can still tell you a lot about something. A shadow can show you an outline and figure of something, but it can’t give you an exact picture. It’s a good place to start, but it’s not the main substance. The law in the Old Testament served as an outline of what was to come with Jesus.
The law that the Jews followed was not in itself bad or evil, but it was incomplete and unable to provide total salvation from sin. The only thing that would be able to do that was Jesus. He was the true picture of God’s grace and love for His children. That’s why Christmas is so special. Jesus’ coming to Earth finally revealed what had only been shadow before.
The Israelites waited years and years to get out of the shadows. You don’t have to be like them. You have already received the full picture of who God is through the work of Jesus on Earth. Praise God for that today, and know that He is not finished working.
Hold up the Light - a good short read!
Holy God, Darkness does indeed cover much of the Earth today. The Light You have given us in Jesus seems to have been purposely dimmed by many in America. It is easy to get discouraged. You have not left the world without a witness, and I thank You for redeeming me through Jesus Christ. Be with me as I stand for You and for Light to the darkness, according to Your will for me, for I ask it in the Name of my Savior, Amen.
ADVENT DAY 5 - Let Us Return
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
Repentance itself is nothing but a kind of circling: to turn to the One by re-pentance from whom, by sin, we have turned away. –Lancelot Andrewes
To live as a Christian, one must learn to be comfortable with tension. Though it is not as simple as we might prefer, wisdom is found in holding seemingly contradictory ideas in proximity to one another. Take, for example, the ancient words given to us today from Hosea 6: “Come, let us return to the LORD.” Within this single phrase we are confronted with the reality of our own initiative and responsibility to tend to our life with God, as well as the fact that any genuine return to God is first made possible by his movement towards us.
In Advent, as our Lord draws near, we must actively examine the condition of our lives. Are we ready to greet him upon his arrival? In this way, repentance always lies at the heart of faithful preparation. To repent is to not only to feel sorrow over the effect of sin in your heart and life, but it is equally an act of the will, purposefully turning away from sin and death and taking on habits that lead us into places of peace.
You can passionately pursue God without falling into the trap of anxious toil or self-assured living. In fact, the Incarnation of God is the end of all striving. As we “press on to know the LORD” (Hos. 6:3), we do so knowing that it is God in Christ Jesus who heals us, raises us up, and makes us whole. Advent reminds us that we have work to do, inviting us to take seriously the call to holy and faithful living. Yet this way of life is not of our making, but is a gift to be received, like spring rain that falls to water the parched earth.
Lifting our elections up to the Lord helps all of us keep the focus on the most important topics as well as softens our hearts to love everyone, even those with whom we may disagree. Believing differently shouldn't stop us from sharing God's love and His Word with others.