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(Part 9)


December 24, 2010

Today’s readings
2 Samuel 7:1-16
Psalm 89:2-29
Luke 1:67-79

God is the awesome Almighty. He rules the raging sea, He crushes His foes with His strong arm, He is the Creator who founded the heavens and the earth (Ps 89:10-12). No one is like our God. “Who in the skies ranks with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the gods? A God dreaded in the council of the holy ones, greater and more awesome than all who sit there! Lord, God of hosts, who is like you?” (Ps 89:7-9a). A main characteristic of our awesome God is His strength. “Mighty your arm, strong your hand” (Ps 89:14a).

Now God uses human instruments to do His will on earth. This was the case with David. “I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.” (Ps 89:21). How God chooses an instrument is a mystery. In fact, God often chooses not the best and the brightest, but the least and the lowliest. When God decided to choose the successor of King Saul to come from the sons of Jesse, Jesse presented seven sons to the prophet Samuel, and perhaps did not even think about his youngest son, David, who, unlike his warrior sons, was a tender of sheep. God told Samuel about His manner of choosing: “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” (1 Sm 16:7b). So God chose David. “It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel.” (2 Sm 7:8b).

Now when God chooses, He anoints, and with His anointing goes His strength. “My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong.” (Ps 89:22). But of course, since God intends to accomplish His will through His chosen instrument. God is about a mighty work in the world, and this is accomplished by His instruments only through His own strength. And so it was in the case of David. “I have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.” (2 Sm 7:9a). When God uses an instrument, it is He who is at work, and it is His strength that is manifested.

God also calls a people, not just individuals. Like Israel. When God calls a people, He enters into an intimate personal relationship with them. They become a “people who know (the) Lord, who walk in the radiance of (His) face.” (Ps 89:16). And again, as God intends to use His people as His instrument, it is He Himself who becomes their strength. “You are their majestic strength” (Ps 89:18a).

God calls many others to serve Him. Among those He called was John the Baptist. He is the same God who called David and who raised Israel. He still has the very same purpose in doing so, that is, to manifest His glory to the world and to confer the fullness of His life. The fullness of God’s life is the ultimate meaning of salvation. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant.” (Lk 1:68-69).

Now God calls us. Like John the Baptist, we are called to “go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.” (Lk 1:76b-77). This is our work of evangelization and mission. We proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus, help bring people to a personal relationship with him, and help prepare the world for his second coming in glory.

Wow! That is some work! Indeed, for it is God’s very own work. And we are just His instruments. But who are we to do divine work? That is why, just like David, Israel and John, it is God Himself who strengthens us. We look to God’s strength. God does His part by raising “up a horn for our salvation” (Lk 1:69a). The horn is a common Old Testament symbol for strength. And the “saving horn” is God Himself (Ps 18:3).

As God’s instrument we are totally dependent upon Him. But according to God’s own intent, He does favor His people and give His strength to His instruments. And by His strength, acting on His behalf as His instrument, we indeed can do the mighty acts of God and accomplish His divine purpose. “You are their majestic strength; by your favor our horn is exalted.” (Ps 89:18). God’s strength is our strength.

Remember: we stand in God’s place. God is the Most High. But God, in choosing and anointing David as His servant (Ps 89:21), made “him firstborn, Most High over the kings of the earth.” (Ps 89:28). We of course do not become God, but we become like Him, in power and dominion in the world, because we are acting on His behalf. As God rules over all of creation, so David, His instrument, ruled over earthly kings.

John the Baptist was called to be God’s spokesperson, to stand in His place as His prophet. “And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High” (Lk 1:76a). In the same way, we are called to proclaim the good news of salvation. This prepares the world for the second coming of Jesus. Like John, we “will go before the Lord to prepare his ways” (Lk 1:76b).

God calls, and we must respond. How? Our relationship with God, by which He is able to use us as His instruments, is governed by the covenant. If we are to become what God wants us to become, we must live our covenant.

We need to take our covenant seriously. Because it is about the very relationship we have with the Almighty God. If we are in awe of God, then we obey Him. If we do not, God chastises and punishes us. “And if he does wrong, I will correct him with the rod of men and with human chastisements” (2 Sm 7:14b). Why does God punish those He loves? Because God is our Father and we are His children (2 Sm 7:14a). And this is how God treats His beloved children (Heb 12:5-8).

Thus, when we veered away and when we had our infidelities, God punished us. But God will not discard His people, no matter how unfaithful they become (unless they persist). God remembers His covenant with His people. He is “mindful of his holy covenant” (Lk 1:72b). He reminds Himself: “I have made a covenant with my chosen one” (Ps 89:4a). If only we took our covenant as seriously as God does! This is how awesome our God is. His love and faithfulness is eternal. “Forever I will maintain my love for him; my covenant with him stands forever.” (Ps 89:29).

We indeed are a most fortunate people, to have such a God, to be instruments of such a majestic divine task. Let us live our covenant to the full, in order that we might truly become worthy and strong instruments.

We are children and servants of God. CFC-FFL is a creation of God. May we be like John the Baptist. “The child grew and became strong in spirit” (Lk 1:80a). As we live according to God’s ways, may we be able to aver, “My God is now my strength!”

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