So Long, Moses/Deliver Us – Andrew Peterson (2004, Behold the Lamb of God)

Click image to listen to song for free.

I have already explained that I will be taking the next several weeks doing posts on Christmas songs.  The reason for this effort is that I firmly believe God uses some of the most beautiful and significant truth in some of our treasured holiday tunes in order to change our lives for the better.

We begin a full season of Christmas posts with my first repeat artist, Andrew Peterson.  In addition, this will be a double dip into Peterson’s only Christmas album and it may not be the only time I post from it over the next month.  It is that good and it has become an essential part of my Advent experience.

“Behold the Lamb of God” is a unique Christmas record and it is a fantastic live experience.  Every year, Andrew gets a few other artists together for a holiday concert tour where this album is performed sequentially and in full.  He has done this with the likes of Phil Keaggy, Alison Krauss, Bebo Norman, Sara Groves, Derek Webb and many others.  You can find a list of stops for this year’s tour here.

The album is a musical journey through the entire Christmas story, which according to the Bible, really starts way back in the Old Testament with Israel and the prophets.  It is a beautiful build up to the history and the reasons why God sent His Son to us as a baby. Listen to some of the lyrics from the two songs that I have selected for today:

So Long Moses:                                                                                                                     So long, Moses, Hello, Promised Land
It was a long, long road but your people are home
Hello, Saul, First king of Israel
You were foolish and strong so you didn’t last long
Hail, King David shepherd from Bethlehem
Set the temple of God in mighty Jerusalem
You were a king on a throne
Full of power, with a sword in his fist
Has there ever been, ever been a king like this?
Hello, prophets, The kingdom is broken now
The people of God have been scattered abroad
How long, O Lord?
So speak, Isaiah, prophet of Judah
Can you tell of the One this king who’s going to come
Will he be a king on a throne
Full of power with a sword in his fist?
Prophet, tell us will there be another king like this?
Full of wisdom, full of strength, the hearts of the people are his
Prophet, tell us will there be another king like this?
“He’ll bear no beauty or glory, rejected, despised
A man of such sorrow, we’ll cover our eyes
He’ll take up our sickness, carry our tears
For his people He will be pierced
He’ll be crushed for our evils
Our punishment feel by his wounds we will be healed.”
“From you, O Bethlehem, small among Judah
A ruler will come, ancient and strong.”

Deliver Us:                                                                                                                           Our enemy, our captor is no pharaoh on the Nile
Our toil is neither mud nor brick nor sand
Our ankles bear no calluses from chains, yet Lord, we’re bound
Imprisoned here, we dwell in our own land
Deliver us, deliver us
Oh Yahweh, hear our cry
And gather us beneath your wings tonight
Our sins they are more numerous than all the lambs we slay
These shackles they were made with our own hands
Our toil is our atonement and our freedom yours to give
So Yahweh, break your silence if you can
‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem
How often I have longed
To gather you beneath my gentle wings’

These songs and this album help us tremendously.  Sometimes we sing the old carols and hymns and the richness that passes out of our lips floats away without comprehension or appreciation.  The Advent services we attend are intimate and warm, but our minds are elsewhere.  The hustle and bustle of this season can be toxic and our information intake focuses too much on trivial things and not enough on legendary truths.

The anticipation of a savior and a king for the nation of Israel (and the world for that matter) was an historical pregnancy unlike anything we can really relate to today.  How can we fathom centuries of wandering, oppression and strife – waiting for deliverance?  How can hear the groans of the earth, yearning for God to finally say, “It is time to send my Son, the Rescuer”?  We need to begin these weeks of reflection and celebration by looking back.  Back before the manger and the angels.  Back before the donkey ride and a Roman census.  Even back before the vision of Mary and the manly decisions of Joseph, her mate.

Let your worship of Jesus this Christmas include the Reason for the Season – which is not just that Christmas is about the coming of Christ.  It is the reason of all reasons: that the world was sick and dying from the self-inflicted pains of total depravity.  It is that we, human-kind, spat in the face of a loving God, and yet He opened His arms to us once again in the most sacrificial, powerful and perfect way by giving us Himself.

Search the Scriptures and remember.  Reflect on your own journey, for those of you who have Jesus in your hearts as Lord and Savior, and recall the significance and meaning of what this life would be like if God had never acted mercifully on your behalf.  We all need perspective on the value of this event we call Christmas.  Let Peterson’s creative flashback of Old Testament times add to your perspective of how God has truly come to deliver us!

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