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The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” How often have we read these words? The Israelites repeatedly worship other gods, receive punishment, call upon God for help, and wait for God to send a rescuer. And God always responds.
The Israelites have been in...
Mighty God, we do not always understand our circumstances, and we acknowledge our wayward actions. We believe you are with us. Increase our faith. Give us the capacity to follow your leading. We are ready for deliverance. Amen.
In the book of Judges, we find a woman confidently leading a patriarchal nation as though it were an everyday occurrence. The psalm reminds us that the need for mercy reduces each and every one to a posture of outstretched hands and upturned eyes. To sing such a song on the way to worship, as was traditionally done, is to prepare the mind and heart for the possibility of whatever blessing may be given upon arrival. In First Thessalonians we overhear an apostle’s exhortation to live openly and expectantly regarding God’s future revelation—alert to the coming of Christ but also aware that Christ may come in sudden and unanticipated ways. Finally, a parable in Matthew runs counter to our instincts to safeguard that which we treasure, challenging us to consider the ways in which faithfulness involves a strange coupling of risk and reward.
• Read Judges 4:1-7. Reread the last paragraph of Monday’s meditation and reflect on the writer’s two questions.
• Read Psalm 123. How do you address God? Is God more “enthroned above” for you, or “right here in [your] midst”?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. The writer states, “We stay awake each time we practice acts of love and mercy.” When have you felt divinely awakened by an act of love?
• Read Matthew 25:14-30. Identify ways you take risks in your life presently. Do any of these risks relate to living out your faith?
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"I lead a small group of about 12 women, and we were looking for a great Advent study. I had used While We Wait years ago and remembered how beautifully written it was.
I love focusing on the women in the genealogy in Matthew and our church’s Advent sermon series include the songs of Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah. So this study seemed just perfect for our 2019 Advent study.
Everyone is enjoying it so much and loving the insights that Mary Lou Redding offers for each character in her study. While We Wait has been a great study for us!"