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Being Punished?

being punished? advent devotion immanuel lutheran church joplin missouriBeing Punished?

Daily Devotion for Advent | Sunday, December 9, 2018

And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child … (Luke 1:6-7a)

The Bible says that Zechariah and Elizabeth were “righteous” and “blameless” in God’s eyes—a compliment the Bible gives to almost nobody. They were clearly believers, and their lives brought glory to God. But they had no child.

In that culture, not having children was a terrible thing. Most people assumed that God had cursed you—that He was punishing you for something. Having no child meant there would be nobody to support you in your old age, nobody to take care of you, nobody to carry on the family name. Doubtless there were rude people then, just as there are now, who asked the couple, “What did you do to deserve this?”

If you are suffering right now, you may be wondering the same thing. What did I do to deserve this? Is God punishing me? Should I do something so that God will be happy with me again and my problem will go away? To all of these questions this story offers a decisive answer—no. God was planning to bless Elizabeth and Zechariah, not to curse them. If the blessing came at an odd time and in an odd way, well, that’s God for you!

And to all of your questions, too, God gives a decisive answer—His Son Jesus Christ. No, you are not being punished—your Savior Jesus has taken all your wrongdoing upon Himself, and set you free of it. It doesn’t matter what you have done or not done—Jesus has removed your sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Your suffering is real, yes—but Christ shares it with you, carries it with you, as He promises us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you … I am with you always, to the end of the age” (John 14:18; Matthew 28:20). And when Christ returns for us, we will live where there is no more “mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,” where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4).

THE PRAYER

Father, help me to trust strongly in Your Son Jesus, who has taken away all my sins. Thank You for making me Your own. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
  • What kinds of questions were you raised to believe are rude and should never be asked?
  • Have you ever felt judged by someone who seemed to be holding you responsible for your own misfortune? When?
  • What answers from God are you waiting for right now?

Brought to you in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministrieslhm.org/advent

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About These Devos

THE COMING KING Advent Devotions 2018

The coming Savior’s birth was foretold by the prophets of old and later experienced by many who were on hand as He came into this world. Mary and Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon, shepherds, wise men from the east, a legion of angels, and even King Herod—all play their parts in the Gospel narratives that speak of the Savior’s incarnation. Explore the many ways their lives were touched as God became one of us, for each of us, in The Coming King.

Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) is a Christian outreach ministry supporting churches worldwide in its mission of Bringing Christ to the Nations—and the Nations to the Church.

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