We see the brokenness of the world all around us. It’s not anything new. Nations at war, politicians bickering (to put it mildly), communities divided over big and small issues, and even churches and families sometimes at odds. We long for rest and peace, as did the ancients.
From the Christmas carol, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, we hear:
O come, Desire of nations, Bind in one the hearts of all mankind; Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be Thyself our King of peace.
Yes, into this mess came “good news of great joy” that brings hope to us even today.
Do you know what amazes me, what still makes me pause in wonder? God had chosen to bless one man, Abraham, and build the nation of Israel from his offspring, one that would be God’s own special people… but God did not stop there! Instead, through this nation of Israel, God chose to bring good news to all people, all nations through another man, the God-man Christ Jesus!
In this carol we hear a title that is seldomly used: “Desire of nations”.
It calls to mind a hidden gem from the book of Haggai: “’they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:7). The Jews longed for a Messiah to come, yet other nations also desired for one to show the way.
Plato once wrote of an Athenian general in his time named Alcibiades who yearned for a spiritual deliverer. He said, “It is necessary to wait until One teaches us how we ought to behave towards the gods and men... When shall that time arrive, and who shall that Teacher be? For most glad would I be to see such a man.”1
The One that they longed for has come - the Desire of all Nations. Jesus Christ came to earth and has promised to return. He brings peace to our hearts now, as we place our faith in him, and one day he will bring that final peace and rest when he reigns. Rejoice!
Father, thank you for Jesus, the Desire of nations who has come to bring us peace, rest, hope, joy and so much more from your gracious provision. Guide us as we live today, to live at peace with you and with others. Amen.
Throughout this Day: Spend some time today reading and meditating on Jeremiah 10:6-7 where a related title is used to address the Lord, “King of the nations”
1 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 714).