He Brings Peace

Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,

At the conclusion of World War I, The League of Nations was determined to end all wars. The 1918 speech by Woodrow Wilson was received, but did not last. September 1, 1939 marked the beginning of the Second World War. From that point to now, millions have died in battle. As prophesied, wars have increased. Even the intensity and rhetoric of nuclear proliferation is now a common conversation.

Humanity is often given to bloodshed. From the first strike of Cain to the wars in Congo and Ukraine, there is no pause in such vain pursuits. We are finite men, full of greed and the desire for power. All world leaders think in terms of conquest regardless of their political persuasion. History has spoken of such matters without regard to personality or intent.

However, there is coming a day when the Messiah shall return. He will come riding a white horse and wearing a crown of gold. His vesture will be dipped in the Blood of the Lamb and His Name shall be declared, Jesus. He is coming with power and peace. His government shall rule the world. From Him exudes perpetual peace and there shall be no end of it, for He is the Prince of Peace.

His first coming was for the sacrifice of mankind. His second will be for an eternal victory. His first coming depicted a vulnerable infant; lowly and meek and born in a manger. His second coming will commence with a shout; the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God.

We pause, not for presents or holiday songs, but to recognize the advent of the incarnate God. While the world has dismissed Him, choosing an emotional, howbeit, limited event, we are in consideration of The Redeemer! He is the Lord of Hosts; the Lord of Glory.

My prayer is that the Church will not become mired in activities for the sake of an American holiday. Jesus is more than a seasonal celebration. He was both fully God and fully man. He was tempted in all the ways common to us. He came to carry our griefs. His intent was to bear our sorrows. He is the Savior and the hope of humanity. He brings peace that surpasses all understanding. Today, we rejoice at the sound of His Name while looking steadfastly for His soon return.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Hold On

Gen 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Jacob is at the brink of a potentially volatile reunion with Esau. He’s clearly uncertain as to the disposition of his once scorned brother. Esau had cried and begged to be included in the blessing of the inheritance two decades prior. He said to his father Isaac, “Isn’t there one more blessing left?” It all went to Jacob.

The meeting between them is about to commence. It’s a fragile moment for which Jacob has no confidence. So on the night before, he seeks the Lord, wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. This could have been a theophany; some physical, temporal manifestation of God. The night was difficult as Jacob sought for an answer. The scripture offers us a small insight in the breaking of dawn and the final moments of petition.

Of the many things preached, taught, and written concerning this passage, the final words echo in the corridors of time: “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” The request was open-ended. He did not ask for a specific blessing. It was God’s choice. The night of struggle revealed Jacob’s resolve, but it also pointed to the many who have let go.

The decision of letting go is in our hands. We cannot bless ourselves or change our situation. We are mostly inept as to what kind of blessing we need. There are issues on a daily basis. Past mistakes or poor paths always come with a reckoning. There is a cost for everything; a harvest for every seed planted. We all need help from the Lord. These are the times when we are given an opportunity to grasp God and not let Him go. Incredibly enough, He made it so that we can constrain Him. The grip of humanity in desperate prayer is sufficient to compel the very God of Heaven. He has allowed such.

This is not about talent, money, position, or power. The answer – the blessing given – has nothing to do with our faithfulness or merit. His blessing is given because First, He is Good and Secondly because we held on. There is no intellect in this equation. No inherent goodness on our part. We have nothing in our hands to exchange for His blessing. The only thing in our hands is Him. The word is found in Luke 11:8, Importunity! I did not earn it. I just did not stop asking, seeking, and knocking. I just would not let go of Him.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole