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Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Intro to Advent: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

by Dr. Blake Killingsworth

Today's Reading

Genesis 3

“I will be their God, and they will be My people.” This is the constant refrain of Scripture, from the Book of Genesis to the closing of John’s Revelation (See Gen. 17:7-8; 2 Samuel 7:24; Jeremiah 7:23; 2 Corinthians 6:16-17; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 21:3). God desires to dwell with the people He made, even when we were separated from Him by sin.

From the beginning, God continually provided a way to make His dwelling with people – from the choosing of Abraham and his descendants to the Exodus and giving of the Law, from the simpler tabernacle of the wilderness journey to the extravagant Kingdom Temple in Jerusalem, from the humble incarnation of the Word of God (Immanuel) to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and future promise of a new earth. Incredibly, for all our individual and collective sin that has hindered the fullness of God’s glorious presence with us, He has remained ever faithful to His promise and committed in His desire to dwell in glory with His image-bearers.

What does it look like for God and His glory to dwell with us? Where God dwells, there is peace, love, and concord among people as they walk in His wisdom and reflect His character. There is no more sin, death, sorrow, or suffering. Creation itself is restored, and the curse upon it is removed.

This was the shalom for which Israel awaited in the coming of Messiah, but it was also God’s plan that His salvation and blessing reach the ends of the earth and restore all His creation corrupted by sin (Gen. 12:1-3).

The hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” traditionally sung at Christmas time was written by Charles Wesley and first published in 1744 as part of a collection to celebrate the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It expresses that eager expectation in the promised One’s coming to redeem the world.

This hymn serves as the theme for this Advent season of 2019, upon which the forthcoming devotionals build. We will meditate on that unfolding thread that weaves itself throughout the Old Testament and culminates in the person and work of Jesus Christ - God’s promise to dwell with us, to be our God and we His people.

We invite you to join with us this Advent season in celebrating the glorious work that God has done and continues to do. Not only His work in your own life, but in gathering a people for Himself harvested from every tribe, tongue, and nation: “And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

We celebrate the first coming of the Lord during Advent, and at Christmas time, God’s dwelling with us came much closer to its fullness, as “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). The God who Himself provided the sacrifice of atonement to remove the sin barrier once and for all is the same God who makes us His tabernacle through the gift of the Holy Spirit until one day when His glorious coming and dwelling with us will transform creation itself.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).

With our eyes fixed upon that day, we continually offer up this Christmas hymn as a prayer, “Come, Thou long-expected Jesus.”

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