TH E K I N G ’ S B U S I N E S S
The Faith of
Haye YOU this faith?
something God has told us in His Word, or about some clear leading God has given us. But what a. shining contrast we find in the very verse that tells us that “ the angels were gone away from them into heaven” leaving the shepherds a lon e - alone in their old circumstances, in the same old field or place of service which they knew so well and which was so humdrum, so commonplace in their lifé; with the same flock dependent upon their care that they had known so long. What do we read? “The shepherds said to one an other, Let us now go even -unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” Not “ IF” but “ IS” My pastor of years ago said some thing like this: “I am afraid that, if some of us had been there that night, and had t a l k e d t h e m a t t e r over sifter the angels went away, we might have said something just a little dif ferent from what the shepherds said. I sun afraid we might have put it this way: ‘Let us now go. even unto Beth lehem, and see if this, thing is come to pass.’ ” You notice there is only a very slight change in that sentence from the sen tence the shepherds actually spoke. We would be tempted to say, “Let us see IF this thing is cpme to pass.” The shepherds said: “Let us see this thing which IS come to pass.” Now the shepherds liad not been to Bethlehem since the good news had [ Continued on Page 490]
the beloved and inspired physician Luke. Faith’ s F ounda tion : Th e W o rd o f G od We all know the story well, almost by heart. These shepherds were in a field near Bethlehem, keeping watch over their flock by night, when, the angel of the Lord came to them. They were sore afraid because of thp glory of the Lord that shone round about them in the midst of the darkness of the night. But the angel said it was no time to fear! For “I bring yqu good tidings of great joyf which shall be to all people! For unto you is bom this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the''Lord.” He told -them how they might identify this Saviour, for they should “find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a man ger.” The angel’s message was con firmed by the sudden appearance of*“a multitude of the heavenly host prais ing God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest,- and on earth peace, good Will toward men.” The heavenly light faded out. The angels disappeared. The shepherds were left alone in the field, in the darkness of the night, with their flock. What did it all mean? W'as it a hallucination? Had it really happened? Even if it had really happened, might they be mis taken in understanding what the angel had said? These are the questions we sometimes find ourselves asking about By C H A R L E S G. T R U M B U L L Editor of “The Sunday School Times” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"1W *TEVER before in our life time, | probably never before in the 1 nineteen cent ur i es of the Christian era, has there been a Christ mas season so filled with darkness, dis couragement, suffering, tragedy and heart-break throughout the world as this present Christmastide in the Year o f Our Lord 1940. Many unbelievers see no hope ahead. Even many Christian people confess that their faith is sorely shaken, well-nigh gone. What comfort can we find in days like these? We can find all the comfort we need, infinitely more comfort than we need, if only, we are willing to have and to use the faith of the Bethlehem shep herds. They had only slight knowledge of God, and almost no knowledge at all of His Son, as compared with the knowl edge that God has given so abundantly to Christian people today; yet those shepherds exercised a faith that is a glorious example to the most mature Christians of today, and to God’s people of every degree of faith, ^ittle or much. There is both comfort and challenge in the faith of the Bethlehem shepherds, but it is so simple, so easily had and acted upon, that a little child can make it his own. A good many years ago I heard a Christmas sermon, preached by a be loved pastor who s’incei then has been taken home to be with the .Lord, which revealed the shepherds’ faith, to me in a way I can never forget, and in a way I had never heard described or ex plained before. Yet it is simply, clearly set forth in the immortal story of the first Christmas night, told with scru pulous care and infallible accuracy by
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