“Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9
The nation of Israel looked and longed for the salvation of the Lord. He had promised to send them a Savior, and so they watched and waited with an eye always turned toward the Temple, the Sanctuary of God. Today we will look at the Hope of God’s salvation in this fourth day of Advent.
The prophets of Old declared the Word of the Lord; a Word that foretold both coming destruction and coming salvation. The Jewish people would soon fall to their ruthless enemies and suffer great oppression. But they had hope, because they had God’s promise for salvation from their enemy. And so they waited for their deliverer. They waited, not with a “wishful” hope, but with an expectant hope, confident that the Lord their God would fulfill His promise. And He did – but not in the way they expected.
You see, Israel’s greatest enemy was not a foreign nation. Israel’s greatest enemy and ours is death-and Israel, like all mankind needed a Savior who could defeat death and give us life. That Savior is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The Advent season is traditionally one of preparation and waiting – waiting with that expectant hope and confidence in the faithfulness of God. Two people are highlighted in Luke’s Gospel as great “waiters,” Simeon and Anna. Scripture says of Simeon, “He was waiting for the consolation of Israel…it had been revealed to Him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25, 26) When Jesus’ parents came to the Temple to dedicate the Holy Infant, Simeon recognized the Promise of God and, taking Jesus in his arms, he praised God – “My eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation…”(v. 30-31). Anna was a long-time widow who gave herself night and day to worship, fasting and prayer. Verse 38 says “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel.” Did you catch that – “to all who were looking forward to the redemption” (emphasis added).
We live in a world fraught with evil, sickness, hatred and despair. But we are not hopeless. We have the fulfillment of God’s promised salvation in the God-man, Jesus Christ. He alone is our hope for salvation. It is not a vain hope, for Jesus has already defeated our enemy. By His death, we are free from eternal death; by His resurrection we have eternal life.
As we rush through stores and celebrations and parties, let us commit to keep one eye always trained on He who is the Hope of all mankind, the Promise of God, Jesus Christ – our Salvation. The greatest Christmas Gift of all.
Oh Lord my God, You alone are “mighty to save (Zech. 3:17). I rejoice in Your promise of salvation, a promise You fulfilled through Jesus, born as a tender infant, born to save and redeem me. My hope is in You, my Savior and My God. Amen