The Advent Collective – 9 December 2020

A daily reflection drawing from Advent Bible passages – to help us grow as we live out our faith in the everyday moments of life.

Welcome to the Advent Collective Day 10

In your darkest moment, who gave you strength and led you through?

Who led you to your greatest triumph – To your biggest breakthrough?

When were your glory days and who was at the helm?

I’ve shared before that at 16 I left home and went to boarding school so that I would have the best possible chance to take my swimming to the next level. The culture shock was so great that I didn’t want to stay… in fact I would have done almost anything to leave.

Looking back, as I struggled through that time, one person stands out. One person believed in me, encouraged me, gave me strength, pushed me further and ultimately enabled me come through that period: my swimming coach, Archie Brew.

Now when I encounter self-doubt or a challenging time in my life I often look back and long for an Archie Brew type character to come alongside and help me find my way.

Today’s reading is Jeremiah 33:14-17.

Jerusalem, the nation’s capital was surrounded by the vast Babylonian army. Judah’s army was weak, their allies were either defeated or had retreated to their own lands. The city was on its knees, food supplies were cut off, water was in short supply. All the enemy had to do was wait…

Years before, Israel had split in two. Israel in the north, Judah in the south. Israel had already been defeated and its people carried off into exile…. and now it was Judah’s time.

The glory days, where had they gone? The people of God, had he forgotten them?

In years gone by… there had been a great king, a king who had united the 12 tribes of Israel. A king who had been victorious in battle, who had defeated the mighty Philistine army, who had established a nation and laid the foundation for abundant prosperity. God’s anointed and a man after God’s own heart. The king? David!

Into a city in despair… into the violent headwind of oncoming disaster, the prophet spoke,

14 ‘“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will fulfil the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

‘“In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Saviour.”

For this is what the Lord says: “David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel”

God will be victorious! Nothing will stop his unfolding rescue plan. You see his plan was bigger than the nation of Israel, bigger than Judah, bigger than the promised land. No, God’s plan has always been a plan to bless the whole world. And the righteous branch from David’s line? The one who would sit on David’s through forever? Jesus – the Lord our Righteous saviour!

Life in the middle of a global pandemic is tough. Life locked down, in isolation is difficult. Having to choose between family members at Christmas… The constant threat of a nasty virus that has killed 10s of thousands in the UK.

We may have moments when we ask, “where is God in all of this?”

Rest assured, he’s here. He has not forgotten. Nothing will stop his unfolding rescue plan.

The Prophet spoke a word of hope – a reminder of God’s promises – into the blackest of moments in a nation’s history.

Archie Brew, came alongside me at a tough time in my life, he believed in me, he caused me to lift my head and press on.

Who needs a word of hope from us today? Who is struggling? Whose head has dropped, who is overwhelmed and needs you to stand with them and pray?

Let’s pause…

Let’s remember his promises… to never leave us, nor forsake us…

And let hope stir in our hearts.