Psalm 61:3

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Specials

I recently watched two very different Christmas specials. The first one, I am not even sure of the title. It is something like "A Shrek Christmas". I caught it about half way through, but I don't think that will make much difference to the ending.

Shrek (a large green ogre with a big green ogre family) has apparently never celebrated Christmas before. So he buys a book, something like "Christmas for Dummies". He creates a feast, gets a tree and decorates it, buys tons of gifts. But his Christmas if far from perfect. There is too much chaos and commotion. Finally Shrek has to learn the real meaning of Christmas: family and chaos.

What?! That's right, the point of Christmas, according to Shrek, is to have lots of family and lots of chaos.

Let us compare this to another Christmas program from another era.

Charlie Brown wanted to know what Christmas was all about. Was it about pageants and plays? Was it about cards and presents, Santa Claus and big, shinny, aluminum Christmas trees? Thank God Charlie Brown had a friend like Linus.

Linus plays the part of John the Baptist, and points Charlie Brown to the real focus of every holy-day. He quotes, from memory, the story of Christ’s birth from Luke 2. In probably the most beautiful moment in television history Charlie Brown learns that the meaning of Christmas is simply, plainly, wonderfully, Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit, by the power of God’s Word, keep our attention drawn to Jesus, now and always.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Being a man "after" God's heart.

We need to put to rest a little bit of confusion that seems to exist in the minds of Christian men. In First Samuel 13:14 Yahweh rejects the kingship of Saul and, through Samuel, announces that "the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart." The prophecy is thought to point to David, the next king in line.

As we read this in English we can get confused. To "be after" something, after all, means that we are seeking it, pursuing it. This, however, is not what the Hebrew text communicates. A more accurate, or at least less confusing, translation might read "the LORD has sought out a man like his own heart."

Who is like the heart of God? Is it David, the adulterous, murderous, neglectful father? That seems rather unlikely. Rather, this serves as a case in point of how the purpose of the Old Testament is to point us to Jesus Christ FIRST. Samuel probably did not know it at the time, but he was prophesying the Incarnation. Jesus is the man who is not only like the heart of God, but reveals the heart of God (John 1:18).

This helps us to see David, not as a man who continually seeks the heart of the LORD but, as a man who by faith has received the heart of God, Jesus Christ, his son, yet his Lord. All Christian men, then, can find hope in this passage. God has given us His heart. He has laid it within us at our baptism as the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus become ours. We are made to be men like the heart of God, not because of our pursuit, but because of His grace.

So David is a man after God's heart, but only because of Jesus Christ. So too all Christian men are after the heart of God because we are in Christ, molded into His image at baptism.