Sunday December 8, 2019
The announcement of Jesus’ birth was first given to ordinary, humble, and lowly shepherds. Shepherds were held in such low esteem that they were forbidden to testify in courts. They were considered to be dirty, foul-smelling, contemptible men. Yet God appeared to them…surrounded them with His glory and exchanged their corruptible flesh with His incorruptible glory.
What a sight that must have been! The shekinah glory of God shining against the black of night…the Light of heaven gleaming amidst the darkness of mankind…the dawning of hope’s radiance beaming into a grim and hopeless world…all surrounding the lowly outcast shepherds. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of darkness)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (Jas.1:17)
The Lord is the giver of all good gifts. And not only a Giver, but an Exchanger as well! On that beautiful night of the Savior’s birth, God took the reproach of the shepherds and in it’s place gave them His own glory. He covered them with His righteousness and took from them their filthy rags.
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags (Is.64:6)…I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is.61:10)
What an amazing exchange! But it doesn’t stop there. Isaiah also tells us that He gives the beauty of His life for the ashes of ours (Is.61:3). He promises gladness in exchange for our mourning (Is.61:3). And He desires to take from us a spirit of fainting and replace it with a mantle of praise and strength! (Is.61:3).
Our gracious and loving Lord trades our distresses for a broad place of peace (Job.36:16). He promises joyful shouting in exchange for our tears which are sown in deep sorrow (Ps.126:5).
Jesus offers us His light and easy yoke for our heavily ladened burdens (Matt.11:28-29). And above all, He gives His life as a ransom for ours. Instead of holding us under His judgment, God placed His Son under judgment instead of us.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (Is.53:4-5)
Oh, let us be like Paul who declared, “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable Gift” (2 Cor.9:15)…indescribable…inestimable…incomparable…inexpressible…so precious beyond words…that is the great gift exchange. Amen!