Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jesse Tree: December 4

December 4:
Hang ornament with rainbow

Today we get to hang the ornament with the rainbow!  I have always loved the bright colors of the rainbow, because they make me feel cheerful and hopeful.  The rainbow has been a symbol of hope and promise for a long, long time.  In fact, the very first rainbow was meant as a promise. 

After the fall of mankind, humans continued in sin and choosing self over what was right. 

Genesis chapter 6 says, 
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”  (Genesis 6:5-8)
Because Noah had found favor in the eyes of the Lord, He spared Noah and his family from the destruction of the earth.  When the waters had subsided and the family had come out of the ark, God made a covenant with them. 
What is a covenant?  A covenant is an agreement between two or more people.  It’s like a promise that we KNOW will not be broken.  
We read about it in Genesis chapter 9. 
 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. 11 I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:8-13, NASB)
When God made this covenant with Noah and his sons, God knew that man would still be born with a sinful nature.  He knew that the world would become wicked once again.  
Why do we put a rainbow on the Jesse Tree?  Even though God knew we would still choose sin, God promised not to destroy the earth by flood again.  
God does not deal with us according to our sins.  He deals with us according to His mercy through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, His Son.  Let’s think about that for just a moment.  
We are all born with what kind of nature?  A sinful nature.  This means we are all bent toward sin and we all choose sin.  Sin deserves consequences, and the bible says that, “The wages of sin is death.”  We deserve death and separation from God because that is what our sins have earned us.  However, the good news is in the second half of that same verse:  “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)  
Mercy is God NOT giving us what we deserve.  God does not deal with Christians according to their sins.  When we place our faith and trust in Jesus and HIS righteousness, we receive mercy and eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When we see the rainbow, whether it is on the Jesse Tree or in the sky after a storm, we can remember God’s kindness and mercy to man.  Sending His Son Jesus into this world was God’s GREATEST act of kindness and mercy, and THAT is what we are celebrating this December.  

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