Day 62: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 62: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

In our last two devotions focusing on Christmas, we’ve been asking the question – why Bethlehem? We’ve noted that the Lord gave prophecy pointing to Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah (Micah 5:2).  Then the Lord placed a cosmic event, a Star to lead people to his Son, born there (Matt 2:2, 10).  We also noted that the New Testament begins with a unique genealogy of Jesus, with five women listed (Matt 1).  This was rare in Hebrew literature, and when unique data pops up, take notice, it is a clue for more information.  Those women had lives that interacted with Bethlehem.

Well the Lord adds more special revelation to the event of the birth of Jesus.  God uses heavenly angels to get involved in the event in Bethlehem.  Luke 2:8-20 angels show up to the lowest strata of Israeli culture – shepherds.  How humiliating for the angels, right?  They aren’t called to the famous and wealthy, or the influential, or educated academics.  Angels get the lowly task of going to the lowest of the low, the bottom rung of culture, and get to blab, about the birth of Jesus.  The Heavenly realm doesn’t think like you and me.

Shepherds at the time of Christ were not a noble class.  They were the lowest echelon of blue-collar workers.  When shepherds took permanent positions close to towns, there was inevitably depopulation, and degradation.  They did not enhance a community because they were often scoundrels.  They were so despised they were not permitted to ever give their testimony in a court of law — they weren’t trusted.  They earned their reputation.

These angelic beings were happy and excited, when they appeared to the shepherds. Their proclamation was full of joy and vigor.  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Lk. 2:14).  This was great good news for these angels, and they are full of exuberance! For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Lk. 2:11).  Did you see Bethlehem there?  ‘City of David’ that’s Bethlehem.  God the Father is getting lots of attention for his Son.  Magi from the East.  Herod the King in Jerusalem.  All the city of Jerusalem (Matt 2:3).  Now angels and shepherds are all getting their attention focused on Bethlehem.  The shepherd’s experience: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Lk. 2:20). Lots of spiritual energy going on.

Okay, okay.  Anything else?  Yep.  Well Mary’s relative Elizabeth also has a miraculous conception (Luke 1:36).  Mary visits her and John the Baptist was in her womb.  When Mary arrived: And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.  (Lk. 1:41).  Spiritual energy was still percolating.  Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah has been mute, since Elizbeth got pregnant, because of his unbelief.  He finally was able to speak: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David [Bethlehem]. (Luke 1: 68, 69).  Another clue about Bethlehem.  They’re popping up all over the place.

Okay, so if you’re God the Father, you have got to be running out of clues, and signs, and things to focus on Bethlehem.  I can just imagine the Father looking at all the angels in Heaven, smiling and saying: ‘Watch this!”  The Father gets the most powerful man in the world, Caesar Augustus to do his bidding.

How was Joseph and Mary going to leave Nazareth, and go all the way to Bethlehem when she is bursting at the seems (pregnant)? God has Caesar do it: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (Lk. 2:1). And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, (Lk. 2:3,4).  Can’t you hear the oohs, and aahs from the angels as they watch God manage the details of this very knotty problem.  God just gets the most powerful man in the world to do his bidding.  Caesar never even knew he was God’s servant!  Do you think the Lord can help manage your life?  I think so.  Try it.

Are we done with Bethlehem?  Nope, God the Father still wants to keep pointing to it for the best hope for mankind.  The Father makes sure there are plenty of clues for anyone.  Thus far we’ve got stellar events, Old Testament prophecies, angels showing up to shepherds, Mary, Zechariah, even Joseph (Matt 2:13).  The genealogy of Matthew subtly points to Bethlehem.  There’s overt, and veiled revelation bubbling all around, pointing to Bethlehem.

Oh, and Bethlehem was a busy place.  Roman soldiers are patrolling, keeping the peace, a lot of riff raff, strolling around.  The town is filled to the brim with people heading back for the census: And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Lk. 2:7). Maximum capacity, means maximum impact.  It wasn’t a sleepy little town that night.

Jesus, the Son of God, get a nice cozy resting place – a manger.  Doesn’t that sound warm and comfortable?  A manger was a feeding trough for animals.  It means Mary had to put Jesus in a dirty bin, where animals had been slobbering, and eating their hay and grain.  Bethlehem is the site where the Son of God, takes the place of animals.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (Jn. 1:29).

The Son of God is not offended by taking the place of his creatures.  Willingly and humbly he gets placed in animal’s space.  He created them and is not offended by them.  The first ‘blessing’ in the Bible, God places upon creatures — And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Gen. 1:22).  Blessing comes from adoration and affection.  Jesus took their place in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem has another clue about the humility and majesty of Christ.  Jesus would replace all innocent animals that had to be sacrificed for the sins of humans.  Jesus took the place of animals, he was not too proud to release them from this burden and take it upon himself.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isa. 53:7)

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

The gift of your Son, is such an extravagant reward for our pitiful faith.  You accept our lowest denominator of faith, then grant to us Heavenly glories.  Lord, you invaded human history in an ignoble way and accepted the challenge to draw us to yourself.  Becoming a human did not dissuade you from chasing us, to bestow on us, eternal life, rather than letting us fade into a hopeless eternity.  Your sacrifice, leaving Heaven, becoming a baby in the hapless era of heartache and challenge, speaks volumes about your willingness to pursue us, no matter the conditions.  I don’t yet understand the magnitude of your sacrifice or the love that prompted you to run me down (Ps. 23:6).

Help me to live a redemptive and anointed life, so that people will get a glimpse of your goodness, since you have been faithful to me.  Let people get a hint of your majestic character when they see you in me.  Allow spectators to have an epiphany, opening their eyes to the reality of spiritual life.  If they watch us, let us: And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Cor. 3:3).  Remind us that we are not benign, rather you have supercharged us. We are living epistles, so when others look at us, they see you. Help us to guard our hearts, since our spouses and children look to us, and with every tiny action or word in our life, we want Jesus to shine.  We want to live spiritual life at home, as well as in our community.  We sincerely pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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