Faith an Advent Devotional Part 4 of 5 (Part 5 on Boxing Day)
Commune – Ps 16:8 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
The premise so far of this multi-part devotional series has been to encourage us as a church to seek God first, especially when life is hard and we are facing the most difficult of circumstances, but also, when life is good and it is easy to focus on the created things such as the riches and pleasures of life, more that the creator, the giver and sustainer of life. The process in which I’ve proposed seeking Him is through, thanksgiving, praise, offering ourselves in worship and continually proclaiming the glory and majesty of the great I AM in both word and deed. Today, lets look at the purpose or end result of seeking Him. The question becomes what is the point of seeking Him and what does this really look like? In short, the answer is Communion: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental or spiritual level. Let’s simplify this to: sharing intimately on a spiritual level. Listen to how the bible describes this:
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
The Lord says, “we are the temple of the living God; I will dwell in them”. In this strong relational language is what I would consider the ultimate description of communion—being indwelt by the living God—such an amazing promise. Is this really our goal to “come out of the midst of the world and be separate” be holy unto God?
A friend and strong spiritual leader in our church recently proclaimed truth about communion to my wife and I through the story of Jacob. She started by explaining how God has had her “stuck on the story of Jacob” for a while. So, let’s pause for a moment together and look at why this story is such a powerful illustration of the cost and reward of communion with God.
Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Gen 32:24-29
There are a couple of key learnings from this passage. First, encountering God will change us. Jacob was physically altered in the wrestling, and God changed his name from Jacob (which means to be behind, to circumvent, or overreach) to Israel. The definition of Israel is what makes this passage most fascinating in our discussion of communion. It is often translated as “he wrestles with God” or “Prince of God”. This word is actually a complete sentence in the Hebrew language. It is made up of Y, SR, and AL: Y means “he” and being placed before SR is considered a verb. AL or “el” means God and SR literally means “turn the head”. So, putting this all together, Israel, or the one who has wrestled with God and is considered the “Prince of God”, now speaks to God and the God of the universe, our Heavenly Father stops what he is doing and turns His head toward his son. Communion. Oh, that each of us would wrestle with God until we get the blessing of communion. Oh, that each of us could say we have “striven with God and with men and have prevailed”.
Are we truly seeking communion this Advent Season? Pastor Luke has helped us to realize the extent to which the wise men of the Christmas story pursued a simple glimpse of the face of the Saviour, the King of Kings, come as a “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger”. As I have sought to commune with the Father, Son and Spirit over the past week or so, this precious old hymn has been such a blessing. I’ve included the words below as sung by Shane and Shane.
Shane and Shane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1qgyLTH6Xg
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior and life more abundant and free
Through death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there O’er us sin no more hath dominion For more than conqu’rors we are
Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace
Oh, His grace
His Word shall not fail you, He promised Believe Him and all will be well Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell Oh, tell
Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound (amazing grace) That saved a wretch like me (amazing grace)
I once was lost, but now I’m found (amazing grace) Was blind but now I see
Here is another great rendition of the chorus of this great hymn by Hillsong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR7r0Br_HNs&feature=youtu.be
Lord, please bless us as a church with your indwelling spirit. As we seek you Lord, let us find you. Please Lord, bless us and keep us this Christmas season, turn your face towards us and let your light shine upon us; lift your countenance upon us and give us peace.