8 I’m saying that Christ became a servant of those who are circumcised for the sake of God’s truth, in order to confirm the promises given to the ancestors, 9 and so that the Gentiles could glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
Because of this I will confess you among the Gentiles,
and I will sing praises to your name.
10 And again, it says,
Rejoice, Gentiles, with his people.
11 And again,
Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and all the people should sing his praises.
12 And again, Isaiah says,
There will be a root of Jesse,
who will also rise to rule the Gentiles.
The Gentiles will place their hope in him.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a kid, I saw history as a collection of facts and events that really had no link to our present or future. Events and dates of the past for me had no connection to the present. With life experience, I see things differently now. Although today, I also wonder how many people discount the past as holding no meaning for who or where they are in the present.
These verses from Romans are tied to words threaded throughout the Old Testament. The footnotes given connect people to words within Deuteronomy, the Psalms and the book of Isaiah. We are reminded of our roots –the connection to God’s people from long ago. We hear about God’s people from an ancient time and sense a similar longing for salvation. We sense the hope in God to be the ruler over all people. Such roots connected the people before Jesus’ birth to the new covenant that Jesus spoke of hundreds of years later.
Perhaps it’s through these connections that God speaks to the commonality in our hearts. We are grounded by our similarities. These are similar ways of knowing. It’s like the singing and praising –which reminds us of our worship of today, or like the prayers that we repeat –as did the generations before us. We are led by the roots of Jesse. It’s comforting to know that we worship the God of our ancestors who also looked for salvation. It’s comforting to hear that the first Christians looked back to the promises of other generations. It’s comforting to sense ourselves as rooted through history in the hope of God’s coming salvation.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
How does the prophecy of the Old Testament inspire you? How is your faith rooted in the ancestry of others? How does your connection to the past drive who you are today?
Prayer: Holy God, you are the same God of our ancestors, who saw the coming of Jesus. Help us to see the world in ways that confirm our faith in you. Let us feel the joy of the coming of the birth of Jesus, so that we may rejoice in all that you have done for your people everywhere.