Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4 - For God's Little People

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 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, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child." Luke 2.1-5 

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige?

If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people— the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.

Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world. As Proverbs 21.1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.

 John Piper. Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent


I love that line, "He is a big God for little people." 

I was struck, as I looked at this photo of my five children in front of our Christmas tree, by a daunting realization: They are big people.

I remember when they were small, tiny, newborn, toddlers, 10-year olds. I remember when the world was yet unknown to them. I remember the days before cars and college and jobs and engagements and independence.

As little people, it was easy to teach them about God. So much of life was out of their hands and beyond their understanding. Childlike faith is a no brainer for a child. They were little, their God was big, and so it was.

As they become big people - physically taking up more space, emotionally maturing, intellectually more astute - the temptation to apply a reductionistic template to faith looms large. God was big when they were small; now they are the big ones, the roles are reversed, and perhaps there is little need for God. They've grown into themselves; perhaps they have grown out of God?

The challenge is to remember - all of us to remember - that we remain, always, the little people in this equation. The universe is vast beyond the stars, even; and He is God beyond our imagination and understanding. He is not a simple God, explainable by political demands or theological boxes. He is, was, and is to come.

Somebody created all this. Somebody holds the reins.

He is a big God; I am a little person.

I stand amazed.
David, once the smallest. Now the tallest.

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