The Righteous King Arrives

The next prophecy used by Handel in the Messiah was in Zechariah 9:9-10.  He only uses a portion of these verses in the script.

Zechariah 9 9“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
    and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
    and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

These words point to Jesus’ coming at a special time.  This is just before the cross and Jesus enters Jerusalem mounted on a donkey.  The people praised Him that Palm Sunday waving branches as they sang His praises.  Matthew 21:7-9 “They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,  “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  Zechariah’s words were given hundreds of years before and Jesus fulfilled them exactly!  Zechariah also says that He will be righteous, coming to save and bringing peace to all nations that seek Him.  We see those completely fulfilled in Jesus’ life.   He came as the righteous Lord, Psalm 145:17 “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.”.   He came to bring righteousness to us, 1 Corinthians 1:30 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”  He came to bring peace.  John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  Those that seek Him do not go away empty handed nor empty hearted.

Rejoice today in the righteousness of God, His Peace and  Jesus’ righteousness imparted to you and me to save us from our sins.

Linda

Messengers from God

Today’s passage comes from the Old Testament prophet Malachi.  He was a contemporary of Nehemiah who had returned to Jerusalem during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Babylon.  Nehemiah and those with him found the temple in disrepair and faced major opposition as they began the restoration.   Desiring to encourage His people, God gave Malachi a message of Hope to deliver in the midst of their trial.  Malachi was the last prophet to speak from God for 400 years until the announcements of John, the forerunner, and Jesus, the Messiah that are recorded in the gospels.

Messenger JohnMalachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.  God wanted the people to be ready and watching for the forerunner that would come preparing the way for Jesus, Messiah.  Luke 1:13-17 tells the story of the angel Gabriel announcing the coming of John to his father Zachariah.  But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”   John’s birth and life are a direct fulfillment of this Old Testament prophecy in Malachi that was given 400 years prior. 

The second line of Malachi’s prophecy is about Jesus, ‘the Lord who you seek, will come to his temple bringing a message of the covenant’.   God’s covenant was recorded in Genesis 17:7 “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between Genesis 17 7me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”  This covenant or agreement with God was His promise to be their God and they would be His people.  Jesus was God’s messenger of the covenant and the fulfillment of all God’s promises.   He was coming in the flesh to His temple to be with His people bringing a message of love, repentance, restoration and redemption from God.   John was going to come in the spirit of Elijah and prepare the way calling mankind to repent and return to God.  He was to prepare the hearts of the people so they would be ready to listen to Jesus.

This was the glorious message Malachi delivered about the arrival of His messenger who would prepare the way for the Messiah, their deliverer.   Their long awaited Messiah would come with a message of hope and righteousness.  Jesus still has that message for us today.  Let this remind you of the Hope and the right standing with God that Jesus brings.

Blessings of Hope as you listen to this instrumental version,

Linda

Prepare the Way for the LORD!

Isaiah 40 1Isaiah 40:1,3,4 opens the Messiah and that is where our Advent story begins.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”  A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.

It had been 400 years since the prophet Malachi had spoken and the people were hungry and eager to hear from God.  Hundreds of years before Isaiah had prophesied that the people would be comforted by the voice of one crying in the wilderness who will proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.  The one spoken of here is John the Baptist.  His mother Elizabeth was Mary’s Aunt and their babies were due months apart.  Zachariah, John’s father, had received visit from the angel Gabriel foretelling the birth of this forerunner of Jesus.  Luke 1:13-17 “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will luke 1 17bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.   Just as Isaiah had prophesied,  John came and proclaimed a message of repentance and prepared the people for the Lord’s coming.

Isaiah also spoke of leveling the ground in Isaiah 26:7 The path of the righteous is level;
    you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”   Jesus, Messiah, would come and make way for the righteous.  Jesus indeed smoothed the way for mankind to be made righteous through His coming, His death and His resurrection.  All the mountains of sin that stood between God and man were made low through His sacrifice.  Jesus made “every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain” for those of faith to come to God.  He removed the barrier of sin between us and holy God.  Jesus made the way for us to be saved.

John, the herald of Jesus, came to call Israel to repentance and faith.  Let us answer his call today  as we meditate on the beauty, exactness and completeness of God’s Word and the hope we have in Jesus.

Let our Advent journey begin with repentance,

Linda

Journey through Advent with the ‘Messiah’

Psalm 22In Psalm 22 David wrote words that described the coming Messiah’s work and anguish while here on earth.  When he took the sins of the world upon himself Jesus cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far for the words of my groaning?” (verse 1)   The Psalmist describes Jesus’ conditions on the cross, “they have pierced my hands and my feet.” (16b) “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (18)  These visions of Messiah and what awaited him were given to David.  By reading them, we can see proof that Jesus fulfilled each and every prophecy made about him and be assured that He is from God.  We catch a glimpse into the Omniscience and Sovereignty of God.

HandelMessiahThis advent season I will be blogging each day using prophecies about Messiah and His coming as highlighted in Handel’s Messiah.  He turned the words of Charles Jennens, his librettist, who created the story from Old and New Testament passages into glorious song.  Handel wrote the Messiah in about 3 weeks in the late summer of 1741.  His divine inspiration has humbled and inspired audiences ever since.  Recently, I got a copy of a handbill that is given out when one attends the Messiah.  It contains all the scriptures that the ‘story’ is based upon and their references.  Each time someone attends a performance of the Messiah, they are presented with these scriptures in both writing and song.  Praise God!  He has used Handel and his work ‘The Messiah’ to tell his story to the world since 1741 in this unique way.

Join me in a journey this Advent Season through the ‘Messiah’ to catch a glimpse of our Savior and His mighty works.

Excited about the journey,

Linda