Grow Deep: Revealing Jesus Edition, Week 1

Week 1: December 3-9

God, Don’t Hide!

“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down …”  - Isaiah 64:1

A trickle of ketchup oozes from a bottle onto a burger. In the background, Carly Simon belts “Anticipation,” and a voice pronounces that Heinz ketchup is “worth the wait.” In its iconic 70s commercial, the Heinz Company understood people’s dislike for waiting, which may be even greater in our current era of instant gratification: two-day shipping … on demand video … information just a Google search away. Even now Heinz ketchup comes in a squeezable bottle stored upside down, delivering its product immediately.

Waiting can be difficult, especially when the timing of a much desired event is uncertain. After an ovarian disorder diagnosis in my 20s, I wondered if I would wait a long time for children who may never even be born. Add to that getting married later in life, and I had become an expert “waiter.” But after pleading to God and receiving some medical assistance, we began the nine-month wait parents experience, full of the usual anticipation, apprehension, and innumerable preparations. The expected due date arrived ... and went. I spent days wondering, “Is this the day?” When labor finally came, off to the hospital we rushed only for progress to stall. Another wait. Finally, following an unplanned C-section, our son’s cries pierced the air. After years of waiting, I wept tears of relief and joy to see our sweet baby’s face.

Just over 2,000 years ago, another mother saw her sweet baby’s face and welcomed the sound of His first cries, but He wasn’t the average baby. He was Jesus, the much anticipated Messiah Israel had desired for generations. With great joy each Christmas we celebrate this arrival of our Savior, our Deliverer. Through our preparations each Advent, we also look forward with hope to Christ’s return and join believers across millennia in waiting and preparing for the day we see our Lord face to face.

 

Sunday, December 3

Read: Isaiah 64:1-9

This is a prayer of God's people who cry out to Him in their anguish with a plea that He will reveal Himself to them. They cry out with the conviction and faith that He can rescue them.

Reflection: Isaiah writes that “no eye has seen any god besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.” How do you see God acting on behalf of those who place their trust in Him? When have you asked God to reveal Himself to you? What did you “see”?

For the Family: Why has God hidden His face from His people? Do you think He ever really hides from us? Why or why not?

 

Monday, December 4

Read: Psalm 80:1-7

Again, the people of God cry out for God to rescue and restore them. They seek His presence and ask that He would shine His face on them that they might be saved.

Reflection: If you have ever felt as if God seemed far away, what has helped you to realize that God is active in your life? Through Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, God answered Israel’s prayers for restoration. How does Jesus offer restoration for you today?

For the Family: The writer of this psalm calls out to God pleading that He would shine His face on them. How does God “shine” His face on you? Take time to thank Him for the gift of Jesus.

 

Tuesday, December 5

Read: Psalm 27:7-14

David offers an anxious plea to God. He confesses his confidence in God's goodness; he commits to be strong and wait for the Lord to show His face and rescue him.

Reflection: Just as David had confidence that the Lord would answer him and have mercy on him, how can we be confident in the mercy that Christ brings? Which of David’s words encourage you?

For the Family: David said he is confident of one thing. What is it? How can you be confident that you will see the Lord?

 

Wednesday, December 6

Read: Mark 13:32-37

This is a warning that we need to be prepared for Christ's coming as we do not know when He will return. Every moment should be lived in readiness. He does not want us to be deceived but to keep our focus on Him.

Reflection: What does it look like to watch vigilantly as we wait for Jesus’ return? What could keep us from focusing on Christ during this Advent season and throughout the rest of the year?

For the Family: Jesus tells us to “watch” and wait for Him. What can we do as a family to be sure we are “alert” and “on guard" and prepared for His coming?

 

Thursday, December 7

Read: Hebrews 9:27-28

Christ came to our world as a human to die for our sins and will come again to bring salvation to those who seek His presence and who constantly, eagerly, patiently wait for Him.

Reflection: What hope do these verses about Christ’s sacrifice bring? How are you inspired to live based on the promise of Christ’s return?

For the Family: When we die, we will face judgment. Who will be our Judge? When Jesus comes again, what will He come to do? How does that make you feel?

 

Friday, December 8

Read: Revelation 22:12-20

In these verses, the message is clear … Jesus is coming back! We need to be living in His presence now and be ready when He returns.

Reflection: For many families, the common table prayer echoes John’s words in Revelation: “Come, Lord Jesus!” It’s possible, that through daily repetition, we might mechanically recite these words, forgetting that Jesus will come again. How can we pray these words intentionally? How can we be ready for His return?

For the Family: John describes Jesus by many names in these verses. Can you find them? Choose three of them and talk about their meaning together as a family.

 

Saturday, December 9

Psalm 85:1-13

This prayer begins by recalling God's faithfulness in the past and recounts His character. The writer looks to the future when God will make His presence known to His people at the second coming.

Reflection: What do God’s promises and past actions, as recounted in this psalm, reveal about His nature? Which of these actions or promises do you find most encouraging?

For the Family: The writer of this psalm says that righteousness will go before the Lord to prepare the way for His steps. Who has prepared the way for us? How? Where will the path lead us when it is time for us to die?