Day 13

All Nations Shall Find Peace

from the Advent 2017: Joy to the World reading plan

Micah 4:1-7, Psalm 46:4-11, Isaiah 53:4-12

We’re ten days out. You could hit Christmas with a rock if you tried. Chances are good you’re not thinking about nations finding that peaceful, easy feeling with one another. But it’s probably a safe bet to say you’d like a little of that peace stuff yourself, what with end of the year reports, juggling family and travel plans, parties, gifts, and tax season right around the corner. The train just keeps a’rolling. But what are nations if not individuals sharing a common geography? Maybe the path to personal mid-December peace is not that different from that of a nation.

They will beat their swords into plows
and their spears into pruning knives (Micah 4:3).

Interesting that the weapons of war are beaten into submission, isn’t it? And that they are no longer instruments used to conquer, but rather to cultivate? It would be tempting at this point to think the answer must be exchanging business casual for Carhartt coveralls, then raising some chickens and charming honeybees. And maybe going full Wendell Berry is a wise direction for some men to take. But the reality is you can finally get away from that jerk of a boss only to end up with a jerk of a neighbor whose wild hounds keep killing your chickens. It’s into our realities—be they Fortune 500 or hobby-farms—that the God of Christmas says to both men and nations:

“Stop your fighting, and know that I am God,
exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

It would be tempting at this point to think the answer must be going full trust in God. And instead of warring against everything and everyone, we ought to use the tools and skills and gifts and talents we’ve been given to cultivate life and love, instead of conquering for the sake of acquiring more and more and more. Bingo. But to do that we must have an actual moment when we stop and turn from that way of existing to this way of living, which is what the Bible refers to as repentance.

We’re ten days out. To think we could stop, snap our fingers, start knowing, and end up with some Norman Rockwell Christmas is simply foolish. But we do have time to begin the work that makes for peace. But we’ll never know until we stop our fighting, and start pursuing repentance.

Written by John Blase

Post Comments (3)

3 thoughts on "All Nations Shall Find Peace"

  1. Matt Baker says:

    This one hits home big time! My wife and I were talking about this feeling just yesterday, that it almost felt like a chore to get ready for Christmas this year. We both also said though that we needed to worry less about the gifts, travel, and decorations and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas.

    Using our gifts to grow the kingdom of God is always our goal, but this time of year more than any we need to put our focus there. He has blessed us and we in turn need to bless others.

  2. Jeff M. says:

    That peace…hmm it has alluded me the past 24 hours or so. I’ve been tired, a bit cranky, sensitive, and calling it my “introverted-ness” after a long week of work that continues still this morning. I had to confess that to the Lord before I ever dove into this study – hard work doesn’t somehow merit selfishness on the end of it. Sounds obvious but it’s been a struggle to me.
    But goodness, Lord I desire that peace deep within my soul. That peace that only comes from a trust in You – only comes from You, and knowing You. As I go this morning to lead worship for these ladies at church, do I believe you could use this time to change hearts and change lives? Do I trust you to do that? Or will I just go through a motion with 2 songs and leave disgruntled that I worked on a Friday. Oh my soul…when I type it out like that, what’s going on in my heart, it’s just gross!! Father I DO believe that you can do that. I DO believe that this time can glorify You, Lift high the name of Jesus – not because I’ll do a great job, but because I’m asking You to move. In a place that hasn’t been marked by peace the past few months, what could you do there?? This Gospel, this gracious peacemaking from our Savior – it silences all boasts of selfishness and humbles us into worship.

    I keep having this reoccurring image in my head of being in heaven and being in Gods presence…unable to even look up at Him, but laying on the ground just weeping in gratitude as He says “You are my beloved son”. Not on the basis of anything I’ve done or will do – but (like Isaiah 53:11) because Jesus made me righteous in His death and resurrection. Praying the price I owed – the price we all owe. Jesus I long for that day…to be with You forever. As I am here, help me to lay down my life to serve others…to not count my life as more valuable than loving and serving others. May self-preservation be far from me when it comes to giving of myself in service! And may the PEACE You alone give mark our days.

  3. Alberto says:

    Now that I really think about it, peace has probably been the furthest thing from my mind this advent season. We love to claim “Merry Christmas” but refuse to live our lives as though there is a savior who brings peace. Thank You Lord for the reminder.

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