Daily D – Isaiah 66:1-2
Isaiah 66:1, 2 This is what the LORD says: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. Where could you possibly build a house for me? And where would my resting place be? My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the LORD’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word. (CSB)
“Heaven’s my throne,
earth is my footstool.
What sort of house could you build for me?
What holiday spot reserve for me?
I made all this! I own all this!”
“But there is something I’m looking for:
A person simple and plain,
reverently responsive to what I say.
Consider the cast of characters in your nativity set. Ponder those gathered around the one born King of the Jews.
Mary is there, of course. We meet her in Luke 1:26-56. She is a virgin, engaged to Joseph from King David’s royal line of descendants. She was favored by God. She was “deeply troubled” and “wondered what kind of greeting this could be.”
The angel’s announcement surprised her and stimulated one question and one response of perfect poise and deep humility: “I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word,” (verse 38).
Mary was simple and plain, reverently responsive to what God said.
Joseph is there. Strong, silent Joseph standing, attentive, responsive, lost in awe and wonder. We meet him in Matthew 1:18-25. We see him in action there and 2:13-15, and again in 19-23. We catch a glimpse of him in Luke 2:16 as the shepherds show up with a rather astounding, and overly loud, message.
Joseph is there throughout the rest of Luke 2. He is fully present and completely silent. He who by today’s standards had so much to say did not feel compelled to say anything. Joseph was a man of silent obedience.
Joseph was simple and plain, reverently responsive to what God said.
The shepherds are there in the nativity set. How many little boys received their first acting credits as shepherds clothed in Dad’s bathrobe? As silent as Joseph was, the shepherds were noisy. Read it for yourself in Luke 2:8-20.
The shepherds were simple and plain, reverently responsive to what God said.
The others gathered around the baby Jesus in most nativity sets include the wise men, the magi. We meet them in Matthew 2:1-12. They really do not belong in the nativity set since they arrived sometime later. However, they fit in the gathering because of the nature of their pilgrimage.
These wise men brought extravagant gifts. They understood something of the nature of this little one. They understood the ultimate gift was the baby. This toddler came uniquely from the Giver of All Good Things.
The wise men were simple and plain, reverently responsive to what God said.
There are a couple of weeks between now and Christmas Eve. This is a good time to follow the examples of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men. In these days when we will be blasted by loud music, noisy sales announcements, and irritable crowds in every store, let us resolve to become simple and plain, reverently responsive to what God says.
I will simplify my life and listen for the voice of God, ready to respond in obedient faith.
Our Father, you paint your most beautiful masterpieces on blank canvas. You sculpt dramatic wonders from blocks of stone. You blend voices and instruments into stories best sung. Bless our simplicity. Bless our plain reality. Bless us with willing and obedient hearts to say Yes like Mary, to do the right thing the right way in the right timing like Joseph, to celebrate loudly and joyfully the birth of Jesus, and to recognize the Gift he is. May our homes and lives become living nativity scenes of awestruck and deeply loved children adopted and shaped by your amazing grace. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”