Verse 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
Today we move from hope to the second week of Advent where we will be talking about peace. Not just any peace but the peace that only comes from knowing the truth of the Babe of Bethlehem.
Peace is a sense that we all enjoy in those moments where our cares roll away. Maybe it is sitting out on a summer evening watching a meteor shower or relaxing on the shore listening to the lapping waves. Maybe we find it sitting in a boat holding a pole and waiting for a bite. No matter where we find peace it is only temporary as it is about the place, time and activity. The peace we are going to be talking about this week is a different kind of peace. This peace is based on the unchanging God.
While the shepherds were minding their business in the darkness of night their peace of mind was interrupted by the sudden appearance of an angel. Some versions translate this verse saying that the angel suddenly stood among them. That would sure sap a person of their peace of mind. The bright light alone would be enough to startle a person so it is no wonder they were terrified. But the angel came in peace and wanted them to know peace too.
Fear and peace cannot coexist. The angel knew the way to get them to stop fearing was to tell the Good News that the Messiah was born. The angel had no more than finished the declaration and a mighty throng of heavenly beings appeared and started praising God. Did you catch that? This verse, our key verse for the day, is often used around the Christmas season, at least the last half in the King James Version, “and on earth peace, good will toward men” but this use, as if a greeting from human to human, is a misuse of Scripture. These words were spoken to God.
So what is this peace which the heavenly beings were proclaiming before the God of the universe? This wasn’t an “everyone getting along and no wars” kind of a declaration. In truth if we look at the wording in our key verse we will see they were declaring there will be peace with people who are in right standing with God. This is the peace we will be studying this week. This is the peace which marks God’s people.
Making It Personal
What do you think the first thoughts of the shepherds were? What do you think this peace looks like? Do you desire peace with God and other believers?
Making It Personal Kids
How scared do you think the shepherds and sheep were? What do you think it looked like to have that many heavenly beings around them? How excited do you think they were to go see the baby?
Father, all glory does belong to You and You alone. Father, please teach us what we need to know about Your peace so we can know the One who came as the babe in the manger. In Jesus’ name, amen.