Somehow it’s now the third Sunday of Advent, so I return to An Australian Prayer Book.
Jerusalem was in the Australian news yesterday due to a decision made to recognise it (or West Jerusalem more correctly) as the capital of Israel. This blog doesn’t exist to make political comment so I’ll just mention it and acknowledge that it turns my thoughts towards Jerusalem this morning.
Here’s a Bible verse found in the prayer book for today:
Oh people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.
Now at first glance this is a bit of a ‘what has that got to do with Christmas?’ verse but when it’s placed within a context of preparation it makes a bit more sense.
I love the phrase ‘people of Zion’. If you wanted to be less geographical about it, you could say that the verse is talking to God’s people. The verse also clearly indicates that they aren’t in a happy place currently.
This verse is referring to a time when the Jews were in exile in Babylon (or soon to be). I think it’s a good reminder that being one of God’s people doesn’t always mean that we’ll be happy. It just means you’re one of God’s people.
Yet being one of God’s people has definite benefits as the sentences say:
- You will weep no more (eventually)
- God is gracious to you
- You can cry to God for help
- God hears you
- God answers you
That’s what God is like. That’s who the Jews were waiting for in their affliction. They were in a sad place but they had hope. Their God knew where they were. Their God was listening. Their God would answer.
And with not just any old answer; He would provide gifts abundantly.
He’d give all that they needed and more – it’s called grace.
Yours in hope,