Of Mystery and Purpose

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“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews?  For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.'”  Matthew 2:1-2

This is such good news.  Actually this is Good News!  This is worthy of celebration.  And it’s good news in more than one way.  I’ll start with one way.  Paul expresses it in Ephesians 1:9, when he says, “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him.”  Get it?  God revealed the secret, the mystery of Himself, in Jesus, this God, born as a man baby.  Redemption just entered this fallen world and people not even of His tribe understood.  He truly was a light to the Gentiles even as a baby, even before He was born.  See, that star was a herald announcing God’s birth.  It wasn’t just overhead that night.  It guided those wise men over a period of time.  There was a grand purpose and intent to everything that You, Lord, were orchestrating.  There always has been and there always will be.

You, Lord, planned this birth for milennia.  It was planned before the fall.  You always knew.  It was what Adam and Eve were trusting in at that first sacrifice.  We read about it prophetically over and over again in Scripture.  Men and Satan tried to defeat the plan, but You are unstoppable.  And You designed it at just the right moment in time.

Yes, God did it all Himself.  It is over and done with.  No one can add anything to it.  This was the eternal plan, for Jesus to be born, to live obediently, to die sacrificially, and to rise again.  It’s finished.  The plan was accomplished.  And here’s the importance of that for us.  I’m going to share it in Skip Moen’s words, “But did you notice the implication?  Paul intends us to realize that God fully expects us to understand the mystery of His will.  God’s intentions for the redemption of creation and for your part in that redemption, are no longer a mystery.    Jesus Himself told us that He has revealed everything that the Father told Him to unveil.  Not only is God’s cosmic plan displayed for all to see, all that you need to know to participate in His will is also deliberately disclosed.  That is the real Christmas present.  You have been given access to the mind of God.  The Gospel story is your guarantee that God reveals His plans.  And if He reveals the plan for the redemption of all creation, how much simpler to reveal to you precisely your part?”

And that’s the part that rang out to me as I was meditating in Your Word today, Lord.  As I thought about Your words again, “As the Father has sent me, so am I sending you.”  See, I’m sent with a purpose, I’m part of a plan just like You because that’s how You were sent.  And Skip couldn’t have had it more right and I’m glad that in my searching it out after You laid that truth on my heart that You took me to Skip’s meditations on that truth.  Because this means everything to me and to every believer.  Knowing that You reveal not only Your general plan to Your children but Your specific plan for each one of us, changes how I look at everything.  Because just as it was for Jesus, I know You are arranging things in my life.  And man and Satan can try to thwart Your plans in me, but You’ve already trumped them and Your plans, even in and for me, will come to pass because You are God and You are my God.

So, thinking about my Savior’s birth as a baby and the wise men searching Him out brought me to these words of Yours, Lord.  Here You are, speaking to Israel, but these words are true for any of Your children.  “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)  See, that Hebrew word for thought there means “intention, plan, purpose.”  Your thoughts, God, are never just vain imaginings.  Your thoughts come to be.  Your thoughts become reality.  Just like Your thoughts about the world and all creation.  You just think it, and it becomes.  Your thoughts are not like man’s.  And I can depend 100% on that!

So these aren’t thoughts of peace some day.  Because Your thoughts are a done deal.  You have shared the mystery of True Peace, Shalom, with us in Jesus.  Shalom can be mine continually in You.  You are not evasive; You have made Yourself known and able to be experienced.  And I can share You with others.

You sent Jesus for a purpose.  And here’s the beauty of it in Jeremiah, to give us an expected end.  That Hebrew word for expected comes from a cord, as an attachment.  Think of that image.  You planned and purposed for us to be re-attached to You, the God of eternity.  We are attached to You, to Hope Himself, to Life Himself, to everything that we long for which is in You.  That’s why Jesus was sent, to attach us back to You.  And that’s why He sends us, to draw others to be attached to You.  This is the Good News.  It’s all over Scripture.  And it ought to be all over our lives if we are Yours.  Because what is truly attached to You, what is really fulfilling Your purpose, well, it overflows of You.  Because You can’t be contained.  And You can’t be stopped.  Yes, Your will is beautifully being accomplished every moment regardless of the circumstances and all I have to do is look back at Your Word to be reminded.

So as I look to Your Word, carry me forward in Your truth, knowing that Your intentions for me are just as secure as those for Jesus because I am trusting in You.  Jesus has become my Shalom, He is my Good, and He is my Expected End.  I am forever bound to the One whose purpose is sure and true.  I am forever bound to the One whose plans are being and will forever be accomplished.  And that means everything to the confidence with which I can walk forward every moment despite the circumstances around me.

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