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What Does God Expect from His Children (Y1.T1.D14)


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When I pause to think of God as Father, I don’t always think of myself as a child. Being an adult—with all the grown-up responsibilities I have—gets between God and me sometimes.


The other day I took my two-year-old grandson on a walk. His wonder was inspiring. He needed to touch the leaf on every tree, examine the corner of every box, and wander aimlessly through an open world. Unlike me, he has an insatiable desire to learn.


The Bible fast-forwards through the childhoods of Jesus and John the Baptist, but I love imagining what they might have been like. Did they play together as cousins? Did they wrestle and run?


By the time Jesus turned twelve, he was ready to be about his Father’s business. We are not provided with the full conversation Mary had with her son on the journey home, but it was enough to have him return with her. The next thing we know, Jesus is thirty and ready to begin his public ministry.


He taught his disciples that God’s kingdom belongs to the little children (Mark 10:14). He later added, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4).


Since Jesus, the Son of God, took his time to learn and grow, I should do the same. Each day contains growth opportunities for me as well—to explore new things with the eyes of a toddler, to work with the enthusiasm of a tween, and to celebrate adulthood with the grace of my Savior.


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19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young child’s life are dead.”


21 He arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in the place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. Being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee, 23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets that he will be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2:19–23)


39 When they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. (Luke 2:39)


1 Blessed be Yahweh, my rock,

who teaches my hands to war,

and my fingers to battle:

2 my loving kindness, my fortress,

my high tower, my deliverer,

my shield, and he in whom I take refuge,

who subdues my people under me.

3 Yahweh, what is man, that you care for him?

Or the son of man, that you think of him?

4 Man is like a breath.

His days are like a shadow that passes away.

5 Part your heavens, Yahweh, and come down.

Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.

6 Throw out lightning, and scatter them.

Send out your arrows, and rout them.

7 Stretch out your hand from above,

rescue me, and deliver me out of great waters,

out of the hands of foreigners,

8 whose mouths speak deceit,

whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

9 I will sing a new song to you, God.

On a ten-stringed lyre, I will sing praises to you.

10 You are he who gives salvation to kings,

who rescues David, his servant, from the deadly sword.

11 Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hands of foreigners,

whose mouths speak deceit,

whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.


12 Then our sons will be like well-nurtured plants,

our daughters like pillars carved to adorn a palace.

13 Our barns are full, filled with all kinds of provision.

Our sheep produce thousands and ten thousands in our fields.

14 Our oxen will pull heavy loads.

There is no breaking in, and no going away,

and no outcry in our streets.

15 Happy are the people who are in such a situation.

Happy are the people whose God is Yahweh. (Psalm 144:1–15)


80 The child was growing and becoming strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his public appearance to Israel. (Luke 1:80)


40 The child was growing, and was becoming strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. 41 His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover.


42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, 43 and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Joseph and his mother didn’t know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day’s journey, and they looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they didn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the middle of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When they saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I were anxiously looking for you.”


49 He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 They didn’t understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth. He was subject to them, and his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:40–52)


1 Who has believed our message?

To whom has Yahweh’s arm been revealed?

2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant,

and as a root out of dry ground.

He has no good looks or majesty.

When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:1–2)

Meditation Moment


Dear God,


Thank You for Your desire to teach me. I want to continue to grow more like Jesus did in wisdom and favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52) I want to become like a little child (Matthew 18:3) while putting away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11). Please show me how to balance the humility it takes to learn with its maturity to act. Help me focus on what is important and embrace the joy available to me each day.


Amen.


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