God Gives What We Need
Advent Message, Part 1
This article is part one of a three-part series based on a message given on the first Sunday of Advent at Kuna Church of the Nazarene. Watch the full sermon here, beginning at 22:25.
Light shining in the darkness
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Isaiah 60:2-3 (ESV)
The opening verses of Isaiah 60 offer inspiring words of a time when a new light will dawn, and God’s glory will “arise” upon the peoples of the earth. When we get to verse 7, we see some names that may be unfamiliar.
All Kedar’s sheep will be gathered for you; rams from Nebaioth will be your offerings; they will be accepted on my altar, and I will glorify my splendid house.
Isaiah 60:7 (ESV)
So…who is Kedar? And who is Nebaioth? And why should we care about their sheep and rams?
I’m glad you asked.
Kedar and Nebaioth are two of the sons of Ishmael. Ishmael is the firstborn son of Abraham, born to the servant Hagar. But Ishmael, you may remember, was not the son of promise. That was Isaac, born to Abraham’s wife, Sarah.
It's a messy story of doubt, uncertainty, and trying to take things into one’s own hands when they should be left in God’s. Even so… God works in and through the messiness to bring about God’s plan and purpose through Abraham and Sarah.
Prophet Muhammad and the religion of Islam arose out of the Arab people, the descendants of Ishmael. That is why the world’s two largest religions – Islam and Christianity – both look to “Father Abraham” as one of their central figures.
Father Abraham had many sons,
Many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them, and so are you
So let’s just praise the Lord!
Father Abraham does, indeed, have many, many sons and daughters across the globe!
So, Isaiah 60 begins with an incredible prophecy of hope. It tells of a time when the light of God Almighty will come to earth, God’s glory will shine, and when nations will come to that light. Many have interpreted this as a prophecy about the coming of the Messiah and the arrival of God’s kingdom to earth.
In Luke 2, baby Jesus is taken to the temple to be presented to the Lord, according to the Law of Moses. When the priest, Simeon, takes Jesus into his arms, he blessed God, saying:
…my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 2:30-32 (ESV)
For those serving the Lord among unreached people, the promise that Ishmael’s sons—Kedar and Nebaioth—will be gathered and accepted in the Kingdom of God comes as a hope-filled promise.
If Kedar and Nebaioth are invited, then the door is open for all who will come!
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