Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent Family Devotions, Tuesday, December 4th

The Branch of David

Opening Prayer:
Dear God, sometimes is seems that everything is going in a bad way. People say and do bad things. Help us when people say and do bad things to us. Help us when we say and do bad things to others.

Jeremiah 33.14-16 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness. ’

A man once cut down a tree in his yard that he didn't like.  For many trees this would have meant the end. No more tree.  But not this particular tree.  It was a Sweet Gum tree.  The Sweet Gum tree is a very hardy tree.  Even though the tree was cut down and taken away it just wouldn't die. It's roots continued to live and continued to send up branches, new little trees to take the place of the old tree.

The Sweet Gum tree reminds me of God's promises. A long time ago the prophet Jeremiah told everyone that you can't get rid of God's promises of salvation.  Bad people have tried to get rid of them. They have tried to cut down and destroy His words of Law and Gospel.  But it just won't work.

Jeremiah said that God would raise up a "Branch" of David. He was talking about Jesus. That's why people in the Bible called Jesus "Son of David." People were wondering whether God would keep His promises. They wondered why there were so many bad things in this world. Then God sent Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, the City of David.

Jesus grew up. He loved God's word. He taught people about the righteousness of God, that is, He taught them how to live in the right way. But even more than that Jesus came to be our righteousness. He came to give us the forgiveness of our sins by taking the punishment for sin Himself. That is why He died on the cross. But Jesus rose again and showed us that God overcomes all sin and death.

For Discussion:
1. What does it mean to be righteous? (To do what is right)
2. Are all the people of the world righteous? Are we always righteous? (No, No)
3. How did Jesus show that He was righteous? (Never sinned)
4. How did Jesus give His righteousness to us?  (Dying on the cross for us and forgiving us)
5. Is there hope for righteousness?  (Yes, in Jesus)

Closing Prayer:
Thank You Jesus for coming to be our righteousness. Thank You for not giving up. Thank You for forgiving us when we do wrong. Thank You for helping us to be righteous people.  Amen.

"Behold a Branch is Growing"

Click here for melody.

1 Behold, a Branch is growing
Of loveliest form and grace,
As prophets sung, foreknowing;
It springs from Jesse’s race
And bears one little Flow’r
In midst of coldest winter
At deepest midnight hour.

2 Isaiah hath foretold It
In words of promise sure,
And Mary’s arms enfold It,
A virgin meek and pure.
Thro’ God’s eternal will
This Child to her is given
At midnight calm and still.

3 The shepherds heard the story,
Proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of Glory,
Was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped
And in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

4 This Flow’r whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness ev’rywhere.
True Man, yet very God;
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens ev’ry load.

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