“God Defeats the Proud But Has Mercy on the Powerless”
I took piano lessons until I was in eighth grade. I wish I could sit down and play anything you requested, but I can’t. My repertoire consists of one hymn by memory, a fun little duo with my dad, and one Christmas song.
Each Christmas, I take some time to sit down at the piano to play my one carol, “O Holy Night.” I enjoy how the song builds to a crescendo, and I love the words that are rich with meaning. This song reminds me that the Messiah has come to rescue the world and bring hope to the poor and powerless. One of my favorite lines says:
“Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother,
And in his name, all oppression shall cease.”
This is the promise we have in Jesus, and this is the promise that the Book of Jeremiah points to, as well. Chapter 49 chronicles the fate of the nations that surround Israel. Instead of being helpful to “brother” Israel, their pride leads them to plunder the land of Judah when its people are defeated and carted off in “chains” to Babylon. Instead of defending the weak, they choose to add to the oppression.
In their pride, they believe they will never suffer a similar fate. But God declares they will be brought low. He will judge the arrogant nations and defeat those who think they are high and mighty.
Yet in the midst of these judgments, there are hints of God’s mercy and care for the defenseless. Look at verse 11: “‘Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive. Your widows too can depend on me’” (NIV).
God shows his care for a powerless world most clearly in the Incarnation. God took on human flesh and became a poor peasant. He died an unjust death and through his resurrection power, he defeated sin and death. Even today, he does not leave us defenseless but has given us his Spirit as our guide. As the carol says,
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
If you have a moment, listen to the carol, or if possible, sit down at the piano and peck it out like me. As you meditate on the words, praise the Lord for defeating the proud and having mercy on the powerless. Celebrate his crescendo in Christ our Lord who has come to save the world by taking away our sins by the sacrifice of himself (Hebrews 9:26–28). May we fall on our knees in adoration of a God who comes to rescue sinners and live among us!