Advent 2017: Joy to the World: Day 26

Seek the Lord While He May Be Found

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 55:6-13, Hebrews 1:3, Revelation 5:1-14

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 55:6-13, Hebrews 1:3, Revelation 5:1-14

Imagine you were an Israelite living three thousand years ago, and someone asked you this question:

“What is God like?”

How might you have answered? Having grown up hearing the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God who delivered His people from Egypt, how would you have described this God?  

Perhaps you would have depicted God as powerful and just, compassionate and good, recounting stories of the miraculous wonders He’d wrought and how faithful He’d been.

Maybe you would have described God in more abstract terms: the burning bush, the still small voice, the pillars of cloud and fire, the daily provision of heaven-sent manna.

Or perhaps you would’ve described Him as a holy God, one to fear and appease with burnt offerings, distant and disengaged, maybe even aloof—His ways and thoughts higher than your own and more difficult to grasp (Isaiah 55:9).

Most likely, the Israelites possessed all manner of perceptions, just as many of us do today. However, there is one key difference between us and them, which dramatically influenced their perceptions: three thousand years ago, God had only revealed Himself in part. For generations and generations of Israelite people, God’s presence dwelled in an inaccessible place—the tabernacle, then the temple—only approachable by a select group of priests. Very rarely did God address His people directly, and only once every few hundred years.

So, what was God like? The Israelites had only a limited understanding, answering as children from afar. They were chosen, they were loved, and they knew many of His attributes, yet a chasm remained in between them.

But all of that changed in a moment as brief as the first throaty cry of a child. Suddenly, the God who was far off came near. The God who was mysterious became tangible. The God who was separate became one of us. For the first time in history, the question “What is God like?” had a short, definitive answer:

God is like Jesus.

Of course, even that description is a huge understatement, because God is not simply “like” Jesus. John 10:30 tells us “the Son and the Father are one,” while Hebrews 1:3 describes Jesus as “the exact expression of [God’s] nature.” When we look at Jesus, we see God in character and essence, and that’s because Jesus is God.

Jesus’ birth was a cosmic revelation, forever changing how we would know God. Now, whenever God feels mysterious or far away, we look to Jesus. Whenever we wonder if God really loves and cares for us, we look to Jesus. Whenever we question God’s unfailing faithfulness, we look to Jesus. And whenever we doubt whether God could forgive, and even embrace, someone as flawed and broken as us, we look to Jesus.

Jesus’ life and teachings are not a replacement for the rest of Scripture—the whole of which is authoritative and inspired—but Jesus, the “Word made flesh” (John 1:14), has become the lens through which we understand God’s entire Word, and just as importantly, who God is. It’s a privilege God’s people have not always enjoyed, and one that most major religions cannot claim. But now, thanks to Christ, we can make this declaration:

We don’t simply know what God is like. We truly know Him.

Immanuel Himself has come near to be with us, inviting us to seek Him with all our hearts, and when we do, He promises to be found (Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 20:13).

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at SheWorships.com, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

  • Tracy Gloria

    M

  • “When we look at Jesus we see God in character and essence, and that’s because Jesus is God.” – loved this devotional today. Really made me sit and think about God’s character in a new way. It’s Jesus. We didn’t know it, but as soon as we saw Him through Jesus, it changed eternity. And I’m so thankful and grateful. We are so blessed. Thank you Jesus that you love us so dearly and deeply to send us a piece cut from you. To walk among us. To eat with us. To dwell with us. And now, That piece lives within us through your Holy Spirit. I am so thankful for your truth!

  • Rebecca Leek

    Beautiful. Such a wonderful thing to ponder All Day Long and every day of our lives. ❤️

  • Karen From Virginia

    Thanks for this reminder. Jesus is near. With us

  • This is an amazing amazing devotional! I shared it on Facebook. I just noticed a typo though- the last verse referenced is supposed to be Jeremiah 29:13 not 20:13.

  • Thank you for this devotion, Sharon. It really touched my heart. I love your book, also. I’m trying to live a life that is not “about me” and this helped. Great insights!

  • Courtney Cates

    The passages for this lesson are very well chosen to let us know how to see God through Jesus Christ.

  • Micah Lee

    Good good reminders

  • Allison Joy

    Whenever I read these verses in Revelation, I am brought back to memories of Urbana 2012. Urbana is the student missions conference (but so much more than what you may think of when you hear “missions conference) hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship every three years. They always have multi-lingual worship. So we sang “Revelation Song” and we sang the chorus in four languages. (French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and English, if I recall correctly) At the end, they started layering the languages so by the end, as a group of 16,000+, we were singing in all four languages at once. It was SO amazing. I like to say is was a small taste of worship in heaven. If you search “Urbana 2012 Revelation Song” you can find video of it. (I’d post the link here, but my lasts to posts with outside links got “eaten.”)

  • Kaitlyn Reed

    Can this study please last all year?! So good.

  • Sloan ElleGarner

    “God is Jesus.”

  • Yes—- LOOK!

  • Caralee Lilly

    Thank you Lord for letting us see You in Jesus.

  • Isaiah is blowing my mind wide open here today. These scriptures so summarize my 2017 and all of the things I didn’t understand because His ways are higher than mine. And everything He does and sends has purpose and IT SHALL SUCCEED. No matter what we think or see. His plan and purposes are interconnnected and ever moving cycles bringing about His good. And what a blessing verses 12 & 13 are to speak over 2018. Also, as this world seems so crazy and we need a guide to what is true in 2018 – look to Jesus, God made flesh among us to reveal God to us, now sitting on the throne. (Ps – reading Revelation on lots of cold meds is quite a trip :). )

  • Katie Morrison

    How beautiful. I was saved 18 years ago. I’ve struggled to perceive God correctly. But how simply stated, God is Jesus. I look at His life on earth, and I see God. That’s my Father. Wow. Thank you.

  • Thank you for this beautiful post Sharon. My heart is on Fire this morning after reading this.

  • Thank you for this today! I think that last scripture reference is supposed to be Jer. 29:13 (one of my very favorites).

  • Sharon, this was an unbelievable devotional. So moving! And so true. Thank you for putting this into a new perspective for me

  • Savannah Gilmore

    Love this devotional, Sharon your writing is beautiful! What a reminder of the incredible blessing Christmas actually is about. Our close relationship with Christ.

  • Lisa Brussaly

    I second Anne Jone’s comment! ❤️

  • Sarah Goschy

    Love the look of the new app and its ease of use @SRT! I have noticed that, since upgrading, the Bible readings are in duplicates and sometimes triplicates. I am using the MSG translation. I’m sure you are aware of the glitch and working to fix it, but in the event you aren’t, I wanted to let you know. Thank you for bringing the word of God and your perspective to us daily in such a beautiful format!

    • Ellen Martin

      Definitely send them an email “complaint” to let them know of an issue. I’ve done so several times for various reasons, and they are always quick with a reply!

  • Churchmouse

    “We look to Jesus.” That’s it. That’s my word for 2018. LOOK. I want to see Jesus in everything and everyone around me. I don’t want to miss God With Us this new year. In the good and in the bad, I want to look to Jesus. And in the looking, may I begin to reflect Him. May I become more like Jesus. Yes. LOOK. (You’re welcome to LOOK with me.)

  • I am so moved this morning. I often consider how it must have felt living at the time of Jesus. We know the end result and many still doubt/question. Would I have been a witness for Jesus? Would I have felt so distant from God, so as to question?

    “Jesus’ birth was a cosmic revelation, forever changing how we would know God. ”

    I pray that I seek the Lord and give all the glory to God and His great love!

    • Cindy

      I always wonder the same thing. Would I have been like Simeon and realized the promised one had come? Or would I have been the the priests and scribes, so caught up in my own world that I wouldn’t have realized. I pray daily that I would see the truth even today, as I possibly meet Jesus daily.

  • anne jones

    But all of that changed in a moment as brief as the first throaty cry of a child. Suddenly, the God who was far off came near. The God who was mysterious became tangible. The God who was separate became one of us. For the first time in history, the question “What is God like?” had a short, definitive answer: God is like Jesus.
    Sharon, your description here really speaks to me….thank you for this devotion, thank you for the reminder that we are blessed to know God thru Jesus

  • Love this ☺️ sitting reading with my 8 month of nephew curled up asleep on me, imagining Jesus, the eternal word, so tiny, so vulnerable blows my mind!

    • GramsieSue

      Precious ❤️

    • Katie Morrison

      Amen Claire! I have a six month old and I am able to better understand how much God loves us now, to allow himself to be sent in such a sacred, innocent, vulnerable, precious state. He loves us this much. He entrusted His son to us to save us. Wow.

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