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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph’

Yesterday, we lit the “Bethlehem” candle for the second week of Advent.  It’s the week we remember the faith of Mary and Joseph—and what faith that was!  Is easy for us to forget how impossible the word was they were asked to believe.  And not just believe, but act on.  And not just act on, but be ridiculed for.  After all, no one was really prepared for God’s plan.  No one expected an unwed teen girl to give birth to the Messiah.  No one expected the Savior’s earthly caregiver would be a poor carpenter.  No one expected the King of Kings to be born in a stable amongst the barn animals.  And no one expected the Lord of Lord’s welcoming committee to be a group of rag-tag shepherds.

But, Mary and Joseph heard the word of the Lord.  They took it in, let it change them, and obeyed it– even at great personal cost.  And the beautiful thing is it was their very obedience that paved the way for their own salvation.  The manger made the resurrection possible.

God hasn’t asked you to give birth to the Christ in a stable, but He’s definitely asked you to do something.  And it’s probably something you weren’t expecting.  How do I know?  Because He’s not a tame God.  His ideas are wild, adventurous, and beautiful.

How will you respond to His word over your life?  Will you take it in, let it change you, and obey?  One thing’s for sure.  You’ll never experience the glory of resurrection in your life if you’re not willing to undertake some manger experiences.

 

 

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So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  (Luke 2:4-7 NIV)

Photo: Aschwin Prein

“Because there was no room for them in the inn” is one of the most recognizable phrases found in the Bible.  It is quoted in Christmas pageants and family Bible studies all around the world as the celebration of the birth of Jesus approaches.

What do we know about that inn in Bethlehem?  Does the Bible have anything else to say about the humble sight that would welcome the King of Heaven to dwell on the earth?  Who did it belong to?  When was it built?

If you turn back in the pages of your Bible, you find a curious reference in Jeremiah 41 to a place in Bethlehem in which some travelers made a stop while they were fleeing to Egypt.

… And they went on, stopping at Geruth Kimham near Bethlehem on their way to Egypt to escape the Babylonians … (Jeremiah 41:17-18 NIV)

It is an interesting reference to a little known location near Bethlehem that has no bearing on the story being told in Jeremiah 41.  Like so many passages of scripture, it is a small nugget planted within the text to shed light on a much bigger picture.

As we study the reference to “Geruth Kimham,” an amazing picture begins to unfold for us.  A picture of blessing and covenant and what can happen when a man chooses to leave his past and walk in relationship with a king.

Geruth Kimham is not a city near Bethlehem, it is a residence that was established near Bethlehem as a place for travelers to find shelter.  The Hebrew words are literally translated as “the lodging place of Kimham.”  We would refer to it today as a hotel, in the pages of the Bible you would find it referred to as an “inn.”

This man, Kimham, who established an inn near Bethlehem, has an interesting appearance in the story of King David.  After the rebellion of Absalom, David returns to Jerusalem to be reestablished as king over the nation of Israel.  David is accompanied on this return trip by many of the men who provided for him when he fled from Absalom to avoid a civil war in the streets of Jerusalem.  One of those men, Barzillai the Gileadite, has a very special place in David’s heart, and David desires to richly bless Barzillai.  We read the account of their conversation in 2 Samuel 19, where we find Barzillai refusing the offer of King David and sending a substitute in his place.

“Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way? Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham.  Let him cross over with my lord the king.  Do for him whatever pleases you.” The king said, “Kimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him whatever pleases you. And anything you desire from me I will do for you.”

So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai returned to his home.  When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him.  (2 Samuel 19:36-40 NIV)

Here we find another one of those significant pieces of information hidden away in the details of a story.

King David blessed the man Kimham, whose only right to receive the blessing was that he didn’t say “no” when the invitation was extended.  In a moment in time, when others refused, Kimham said “yes.”

We don’t know what Kimham had to sacrifice to say “yes” to King David, but we can gain an amazing glimpse of what he gained.  Apparently Kimham was given land near David’s home town of Bethlehem.  Kimham evidently established a resting place for travelers who were passing through the region of Bethlehem.  And, it would seem, that a young man and woman, traveling to be counted in the Roman census, would travel to Bethlehem and find no room in the inn.  But, they would seek shelter in the stable behind the inn.  And the King of Heaven would be born in a stable built by a man who’s only recorded action was that he said “yes” at the right time.

The story of the Inn of Kimham amazes me.  It speaks to us on so many levels.  Did Kimham have an ounce of understanding the stable beside his inn would welcome the birth of the Messiah?  Did David perceive his generosity toward Kimham would establish the birthplace of his great, great, great (etc.) grandson?

Do we have even the slightest glimmer of an idea of the power of our acts of willingness and generosity?  Even today, stables are being built all over the world that will welcome the King of Glory into the hearts of men.

Your life, your actions, your “yes” will echo through human history.  May it be a sweet sound in the ears of all who hear. 

Podcast

Click here to listen to Pastor Eric’s message “Sacrifice and Relationships.”

On the Radar – Church Holiday Schedule

  • Wednesday, December 9 – Lifegroup Christmas Party / Youth Christmas Party
  • Sunday, December 13 – Third Sunday of Advent
  • Wednesday, December 16 – Hayride, Caroling, & Chiminea Christmas Party
  • Saturday, December 19 – Ladies’ Cookie Swap & Ornament Exchange
  • Sunday, December 20 – Children’s Christmas Pageant
  • Wednesday, December 23 – No Church Activities
  • Sunday, December 27 – Last Sunday of 2009
  • Wednesday, December 30 – No Church Activities
  • Thursday, December 31 – New Year’s Night of Worship

Revelation Bible study this Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in my office.  Everyone is welcome to join in, just bring your Bible and a lunch box.  Keep up with the progress at The Watchman’s Gaze.

The Drum Circle will be getting back on rhythm in 2010.  Drop me an email if you are interested in learning to play hand drums.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Joy to the World”
  2. I’ve Found a Love” Bethel Live version  
  3. Freedom Reigns” by Jason Upton  
  4. When I think about the Lord” by James Huey  

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, December 13, is the third Sunday of Advent.  We will continue our series on Sacrifice by looking at the sacrifice God made on our behalf.

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but god_tThere are two words that, when joined together in the pages of the Bible, absolutely change everything — “but God.”

These are the words in The Word that cause you to lean forward and look deeper.  The reality of these words is the longing of our lives.  When we find ourselves in impossible situations, we know we have become prime candidates for a “but God” moment.

The following is a “but God” list that I pray strengthens your faith and gives you courage as you take the next step.

  • Gen 8:1 (NIV)  But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
  • Gen 31:42 (NIV)  If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.
  • Gen 41:16 (NIV) “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
  • Gen 45:7-8 (NIV)  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.  He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
  • Gen 50:19 (NIV)  But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
  • Judges 15:18-19 (NAS) Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the Lord and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”  But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, his strength returned and he revived.
  • 2 Chronicles 25:8 (NCV)  You can make yourself strong for war, but God will defeat you. He has the power to help you or to defeat you.
  • Psalm 49:13-15 (NIV) This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah  Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them . . . But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.
  • Psalm 73:26 (NIV) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
  • Psalm 75:6-7 (NAS) For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation; But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.
  • Jeremiah 50:33-34 (NCV) The people of Israel and Judah are slaves.  The enemy took them as prisoners and won’t let them go.  But God is strong and will buy them back.  His name is the Lord All-Powerful.
  • Matthew 19:25-26 (NCV) When Jesus’ followers heard this, they were very surprised and asked, “Then who can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something people cannot do, but God can do all things.”
  • Luke 12:18-21 (NIV) “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
  • Luke 16:15 (NIV) He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”
  • John 1:12-13 (NAS)  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
  • John 1:18 (NIV) No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,  who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
  • Acts 2:23-24 (NIV) This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
  • Acts 3:14-15 (NIV) You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.  You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
  • Acts 10:28 (NIV) He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.”
  • Acts 10:39-40 (NIV) “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.”
  • Acts 13:29-30 (NIV) When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead…
  • Acts 26:21-22 (NCV) This is why the Jews took me and were trying to kill me in the Temple.  But God has helped me, and so I stand here today, telling all people, small and great, what I have seen.
  • Romans 5:7-8 (NIV) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Romans 5:21 (NCV) Sin once used death to rule us, but God gave people more of his grace so that grace could rule by making people right with him. And this brings life forever through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Romans 6:23 (NCV) When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. But God gives us a free gift—life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Romans 8:3 (NCV) The law was without power, because the law was made weak by our sinful selves. But God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son to earth with the same human life that others use for sin. By sending his Son to be an offering to pay for sin, God used a human life to destroy sin.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 (NIV) Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV) However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (NIV) I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:24-25 (NIV) But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:37-38 (NIV) When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NCV) We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living.  We are persecuted, but God does not leave us.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NCV) Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:5-6 (NIV) For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus…
  • Galatians 1:13-15 (NCV) You have heard about my past life in the Jewish religion. I attacked the church of God and tried to destroy it.  I was becoming a leader in the Jewish religion, doing better than most other Jews of my age. I tried harder than anyone else to follow the teachings handed down by our ancestors.  But God had special plans for me and set me apart for his work even before I was born.
  • Galatians 3:18 (NIV) For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
  • Galatians 3:20 (NIV) A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
  • Ephesians 2:3-5 (NAS) Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…
  • Philippians 2:27 (NIV) Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.
  • Hebrews 3:3-4 (NIV) Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.  For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
  • Hebrews 5:5 (NIV) So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest.  But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
  • 2 Peter 3:12-13 (NCV) When that day comes, the skies will be destroyed with fire, and everything in them will melt with heat.  But God made a promise to us, and we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth where goodness lives.

What “but” do you need from God today?

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