“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.  But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (ESV)
2020 could safely be called the year of conspiracies. For example: who started Covid19? Did the presidential election get stolen? Are socialists threatening to overturn our country? Is the New World Order about to overturn our world?
How much time have you invested in the news or alternate news, worrying about conspiracies or speaking about them with family members, neighbors and friends?
Conspiracies are nothing new. Back in the early ministry of Isaiah the prophet, conspiracies about foreign powers aligning together against Judah caused the hearts of the people to melt with fear. God spoke to Isaiah and said, “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy” (12). It was central to God’s way that His people not waste their energy on conspiracy theories. Instead they are to live their lives in the fear of the LORD, or, as God said, “Let [the LORD of Hosts] be your dread” (13).
We don’t typically think of responding to the Lord God with dread. That seems inappropriate somehow. But for some reason we think that dread of foreign powers invading or foreign powers sending a virus our way is somehow a responsible action. No, the only thing that makes sense is to put those conspiracies on the scale with the LORD of Hosts and responding to the Lord as the Sovereign King and Master of our lives. To dread Him is to live in awe of Him and respond to His way in this world. He says He will be a sanctuary to all who fear Him.
For those who do not respond by fearing the LORD, God says He will be a rock of offense, a stone of stumbling, a trap and a snare to them. If any of us disregard God, thinking we can ignore Him, we’ll find ourselves tripping over Him to our own destruction.
When Paul refers to Isaiah 8:11-15 in Romans 9:32-33, or when Peter refers to the “rock of offense” in 1 Peter 2:8, both men are referring to Christ. And here’s how all this relates to Advent: Christ did not go from the cradle to Paradise. No, He went from the cradle to the cross. Most of the world finds celebration of the baby Jesus just fine. Sentimental, culturally acceptable, traditional. But the cross is offensive. It deals with the scandalous, unacceptable news that our sin cannot be ignored. It must be punished. Advent reminds us of the hard truth that Jesus came to die for our sin. If you run to that stone of solid ground, you’ll be safe. If you try to ignore the Christ on the cross, you’ll trip over it eventually and be crushed.
These things may be hard to understand, so we’ll look at them again over the next two days of devotions. But what is clear is this: Christ came to die for sinners. This is God’s way.
Do you know that you are a sinner?
Do you trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ alone for your salvation?