O Lord, and leader of the house of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
Longing for a ruler is not a feeling I’m accustomed to. Not many of us, especially in the West, can look at our lives and say, “I wish I had a king or a ruler of some government telling me how to live and what to do.” If anything, we’re adverse to anyone telling us we are subject to their authority, rules, and way of life. We carry notions of absolute autonomy, and as a result, this idea of hoping for a ruler or lord over our lives at Advent seems uncomfortable, maybe even troubling.
But for people living under a tyrannical and oppressive regime of power and domination, the hope of having another ruler and king could be deeply desirable. Put yourself in the shoes of ancient Israel, bound in slavery to the Egyptians for generations, subjected to brutal, back-breaking, soul-crushing, domineering labor to build the cities and monuments of a despotic pharaoh. That sounds nothing like the life I’d want to live. Later in Israel, while in subjection to foreign tyrants again—this time the Babylonian empire—Israel cried out for the Lord to come and rescue them by being “our Judge…our Lawgiver…our King” (Isaiah 33:22). Of course you’d want a new ruler.
The universal domination and oppressive bondage we all face comes from Satan, sin, and death. The impulses and trappings of a fallen, sinful nature rule our inclination and every desire. These are the needs of people under the oppression of tyranny: a liberator, a savior who will come and bring them into a new regime of life and freedom.
So when we say, “Lord, come!” we are acknowledging a condition of our heart and need for a Savior who frees us from our bondage and brings us into the kingdom of life and liberty. This reality is precisely what Jesus, our Lord, did when He first came for us. By coming as a human being, taking the posture and heart of a servant and humbling Himself as a sacrifice for our sin, Jesus liberates everyone who trusts in Him from their sin and corruption. He saves us.
And it’s because of this that we can confess today, “Lord, come!” Jesus is the Lord, the Judge, Lawgiver, King, and Savior we need. Because of what He has done, we can rejoice and long for His coming kingdom when all things will be made new.