December 14, 2012

The Whole Bible at Christmas

I'm reading through one of those Bible plans this year that has me read daily from the Old and New Testaments.  I've only done this a couple of times, but always find it delightful when the readings connect with one another because God was, is, and will be forever the same.  Yesterday, in the Christmas season, the delightful-ness was magnified for me as I read from Amos (Yeah, like, who reads that book, right?  Um, it's really amazing!) and Revelation (Isn't that book only full of incomprehensible imagery?!)

The beauty comes from the thread that holds it all together: God's sovereignty over history, creation, His people.  The Christmas story, (The one about the baby Jesus being born in a stable?  Yep, that one.)  The Christmas story was not sudden lightbulb-over-His-head moment for God.  Nope.  It has its roots in  earliest human history, and its effects reach to the end of time.  Jesus' birth and ministry were prophesied hundreds of years ahead.  Then, afterward, God showed John what was to come.

What floors me over and over again is the drumbeat of mercy
that is the cadence of God's Word, from Genesis to Revelation.

From Amos 5:4-6

 This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel:
“Seek me and live;
     do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
    do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
    and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”
Seek the Lord and live,
    or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour,
    and Bethel will have no one to quench it.

Isreal, God's people, so deserved to be wiped out without any chance to turn around and be rescued.  but the first thing God says is Seek me and live.

Then in Revelation 5:9

And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased men for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation."

Jesus, the Lamb, is worthy to open the seals in heaven why?  Because he was slain and with his blood purchased men for God.

God has been in the business of saving people since Adam and Eve at the fruit.  He sent them out with curses, but He also clothed them.  The Lord wants people to seek Him and live.  He is always inviting us to freedom and righteousness through belief and trust in Him.  He sent Jesus to be born in a stable, so that He  ultimately could be slain and purchase men for God with His blood.  No more daily sacrifices, no more yearly day of atonement.  Bloody altars were replaced with the communion table ... a place where the people of God from every tribe, tongue, and nation can commune with Almighty God.

Does that make your jaw drop?

It should.  If it doesn't, start reading the Old Testament.  God's judgement on those who refuse to turn to Him is ugly.  God is slow to anger and not capricious, but He is just.  Judgement will come.  But the jaw-dropping wonder of Christmas is that the Holy One came down and walked among us so we could know Him and be fully, completely, and wholly redeemed, rescued from the cup of wrath we deserve to drink.

Because Jesus took the cup for us.

Seek me and live, says the Lord.
Christmas reminds us that He means it.

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