Advent Devotional for December 5 – Hoping in a Just Savior

Published December 5, 2018 by John Lindsay in Devotionals

“Tree of Jesse” by Anselm Kiefer, 1987. The prophet Jeremiah saw the line of kings descended from David broken, but he also heard from the Lord a promise of a Righteous Branch that would be raised up from David’s ashes. In Advent, we learn to look away from fallen heroes and to hope in King Jesus, the one who establishes justice in all the earth.

SCRIPTURE

Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

QUESTIONS

1. People often hope that some other person or group of people will make them feel confident and secure – maybe a romantic partner, an encouraging teacher, a smart and supportive employer, a union leader, a political party, or a president. Who are the people you have hoped in for a brighter future?

2. Where do you see injustice in your land? What about in your family, or yourself? How often do you simply shrug in the face of injustice? When does it stir you up and make you long for change?

3. In this passage, Jesus is described as a “righteous Branch” of David, Israel’s greatest king. What do you know about Jesus from the Bible? What kind of king does he appear to be? What would it mean for you to hope in him to give you security and to make you just? How could you learn to hope in him?

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYER

Meditation
Whether you are praying alone or with other people, begin by spending five minutes in silence. Set a timer on your phone and stick to it. In your time of silence, be mindful of your breathing, and slowly repeat to yourself the last phrase in the passage, “The Lord is my righteousness.” When you notice your mind wandering to cares, worries, distractions, or duties, just return to the phrase and repeat it. The goal is not to make yourself feel any particular emotion or achieve some great insight. You are simply slowing down and creating space to listen to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. As you repeat the truth that “the Lord is my righteousness,” the Spirit will prompt in your heart what he wants you to know. Make no demands of the Spirit, and do not judge what happens according to your desires or expectations. Simply trust that He is there with you, ready to speak, and receive whatever comes to you with openness and gratitude.

Prayer
When your time of meditation is done, move into a time of prayer. It may be that the Holy Spirit has prompted you to offer specific prayers of praise, confession, thanksgiving, or petition. If so, pray for these things! If not, consider using the following prayer as a guide for your own:

Heavenly Father, only you have the power to make me right and to make the world right. I confess the ways that I have excused the injustice in my life and accepted the injustice in the world. I confess that I have longed for comfort in this world more than I have longed to be made good and faithful, as you are. Thank you that you sent Jesus into the world to be my king and to make things right. Make me long for his justice more than I long for anything else, and help me to hope in him instead of myself and others for all that I need.

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