His People: Old Testament
“Then God surveyed everything He had made, savoring its beauty and appreciating its goodness.” – Genesis 1:31a (The Voice)
The Testaments are a proclamation of God Almighty’s quest to love His people. The triune God desires intimacy with His creation. He not only sees us as worthy, but continually makes a way for us to be with Him. Despite the endless failings, sins, and shortcomings of His people He sees us as good. He loves us.
The relationship God had with Adam and Eve was beautiful. Envision them walking and talking with the Lord. I often think of day to day life in Eden. He would walk with them in the cool of the day. A poignant time that, for me, denotes rest, friendship, and tranquility.
The severance caused from forbidden fruit bitten didn’t simply affect Adam and Eve, but God. It clearly grieved His heart. If it didn’t, he would have simply walked away and left us with our own devices. Instead, what does He do? He takes His sweeping providential hand and devises the most daring and sacrificial rescue attempt known in all of history. He infiltrates this world incarnate – a human baby with little to no defenses.
Throughout the Old Testament He speaks of drawing near. The prophets foretell of the coming Savior. And he makes covenants with His people that He will fulfill. The cornerstone will back up their foundation and fulfill the promise of His love for us.
“I have plans to make a great people from your descendants. And I am going to put a special blessing on you and cause your reputation to grow so that you will become a blessing and an example to others. I will also bless those who bless you and further you in your journey, and I’ll trip up those who try to trip you along the way. Through your descendants, all of the families of the earth will find their blessing in you.” – Genesis 12: 2-3 (The Voice)
There is much to Abraham’s story. This was a man of faith. He had great trust and a true servant’s heart. Even in His doubt, there is a layer of dependence to the Lord. He doesn’t always know how God is going to come through, but he knows that He will always make a way.
We find the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in Genesis 22:1-14. I wrote a blog entitled “Ram in the Thicket” about this very piece of scripture. Abraham never doubts for a moment that God is going to fulfill His covenant that all of the families of the earth will find their blessing through you (Gen.12:3). He has lived a faithful example to His son as well. His credence toward God trembles through every life Abraham touches.
I love the way The Voice shares the dialogue between Abraham and Isaac on Mount Mariah:
Isaac (to Abraham): Father!
Abraham: I am right here, Son.
Isaac: Look, we have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?
Abraham: God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.
(Gen. 22: 7-8)
No matter the circumstances God has already provided the “ram in the thicket”.
These patriarchs of the Bible are simply the tip of the iceberg. The expanse beneath the waters stretches and grows the evidence of His faithfulness. Ruth and Boaz, Tamar, King David, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Esther, Noah, etc…
All ordinary people that God chose to reveal His glory through. He displayed His love for them. He listened and answered their prayers.
In the coming weeks we will meet other key players in the coming of Christ - commonplace people that God loves and employs to bring His only begotten to Earth. From Zachariah and the wisemen to Simeone and the shepherds; each and all have an unparalleled journey to walk. Not only is God using them to tell His narrative, but He narrates a distinctive personal and complex story for each person. There are things they need to learn, to grow, to discover about His character.
He is always more concerned with our character than our comfort.
It is staggering to realize that He not only meets us where we are at, aids us in taking steps toward growth, but will definably use us for the glory of His kingdom.
And this is what the prophet Isaiah says:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (9: 6-7; NKJV)
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” (11: 1-2; NKJV)
Next week – His People: Zechariah. We will touch on living a faithful life vs. a definable faith in the truth of God’s promises to His people.