Weekly Devotion

Romans 15:4-6

A popular credit card advertisement for many years now uses the tagline What’s in your wallet? Through varying and uncertain conditions and circumstances and a variety of unexpected characters, this tagline is always the last word of the commercial. Perhaps we should see whether our alternate credit card provides equal dependability, the commercial suggests. If not, the implication is clear – we should switch credit cards!

Paul’s words in Romans 15 might be summed up as a reminder to the people of God to examine what’s in your wallet? In all the ups and downs and twists and turns of life, what do we depend on? Where is our hope placed? Paul speaks by the authority of God the Holy Spirit when he asserts that all of Scripture – which when Paul was writing meant the Old Testament – is given for our instruction and for our encouragement.

How does it do this? It points us to Jesus. And in Jesus is our hope and assurance. Scripture is not merely historical, it points us to Jesus and reminds us of everything He provides us. It reminds us how God worked through over 2000 years of Hebrew history to bring the promised Messiah into our world. At just the right time and just the right place to accomplish his plan of salvation. God’s meticulousness and his faithfulness despite our disobedience is a continual source of comfort and hope and encouragement. And only God’s Word speaks authoritatively and most fully about God’s work to and for and despite us. A work which came into power when Jesus was raised from the dead and then ascended back to heaven leaving the promise of his return.

The world offers many possible things to hope in. Many people place their hope in their wallets – literally. In the bank accounts they can access at a moment’s notice. In retirement accounts or Social Security checks. Some place their hope in their good health and vigor, or in the promise of medicine and science to alleviate the struggles of the world. But for the people of God, our hope can be carried in our wallets – thanks to digital Bibles! – but is not the wallet itself. Our hope is Jesus the Christ, the returning king, and the kingdom of God He will bring into fullness when He returns.

O come, O come Emanuel!

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