Has that ever happened to you? I am in the midst of a learning experience that is transforming how I perceive the gifts God is giving me. The gift I was expecting has not arrived and apparently is not going to. I have spent days trying to reconcile myself to this realization. As time passes, God has to drag me by my heels on this journey that I’m coming (slowly) to realize has been intended to reshape and mold a new image of what I perceive as God’s gift. (I don’t always cooperate like I should!) The gift I find myself struggling to receive is vastly different from the gift I was expecting.
The gift of faith, the gift of patience, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of mastering how to not fret, the gift of resting in my LORD, the gift of having God’s perspective on the situation, the gift of trusting God to provide what I need when I need it, the gift of perseverance in doing things God’s way, the gift of learning how to focus on other’s needs over my own, the gift of learning not to judge, the gift of peace.
During Christmas my mind ponders what it must have been like for the Jewish people to receive the gift of the Messiah. Just think with me for a minute, It had been hundreds of years since their Savior had been prophesied. And over the span of that time, perhaps their expectations of their Messiah was shaped more by what they wanted to see rather than what the Bible revealed.
The Bible foretold of coming King as in Jeremiah 23:5
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. ESV
And Micah 5:2 Described a ruler
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.ESV
Isaiah 9:7 Foretold of a time of unending peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. ESV
The Jewish people it seems were always under oppression; from without and as well as from within. It must have been hard to hold on to the hope that someday things would be better for them. I feel verses that described their Messiah as a poor and suffering servant, like the following verses in Isaiah, would attract less of their attention.
Time and oppression, must have created a longing for their Messiah to come and set everything right for His people. They would be all too willing to join in the fight for that victory. I think I can understand why it was so difficult for many to picture that a baby, born in a lowly manger, to a virgin no less, was their conquering ruler, king, Messiah!
Not the gift they, or we, could imagine but a gift that far exceeded any of their, or our, expectations.