Advent Week 2: Peace
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
After 400 years of silence, Israel waits in the midst of darkness for God to speak. As Zechariah enters the temple and receives the news of God’s plan, once again God’s message is met with unbelief and doubt. How fitting that He would silence a man so that God's Word would be heard.
God’s message of a coming Messiah had been promised right from the very beginning. In the garden, man’s rebellion broke God’s perfect world and their perfect relationship with Him. Perfect union with God was replaced with enmity and peace on earth was only a flickering hope. Even in the darkest moments, God’s promise to restore and redeem has been a constant. The prophets spoke to pronounce God’s judgment on injustice and His punishment for a people who seem hell-bent on living out from under the sovereign reign of a good and loving God. Over and over again, we have rejected God’s message, doubted his promises, and lasted on our own wisdom. Choosing to trust our own hearts and to live out our best ideas has only brought more hurt and pain and injustice to our world. When would we experience the peace we so long for?
When God finally allows Zechariah to speak, he bursts forth with prophetic praise that shatters the silence and announces a new dawn. God’s hard-hearted people will be rescued. The Redeemer is coming soon and He will have the power of salvation. Though we sit in the darkness of death, Jesus, the Light of the world will lead us into a new kingdom where we will finally experience lasting peace!
Questions for Reflection
When you think about the world we live in, where do you see turmoil? What would it look like if God’s peace replaced the strife and injustice you see?
Spend time praying for God’s kingdom to come in ways that would point people to the peace only Christ can bring.
Where in your relationships is there division or conflict? Would you say your home or workplace is a place marked by peace?
How could you be a peacemaker in those situations?
Pray for those in your life who need the peace of Christ and ask God to show you where your heart needs to be transformed to live at rest, trusting His promises.