FROM THE PASTOR
Through the centuries God has gone to great lengths to communicate with the human race. Although we had rejected Him, He did not reject us. He continued to reveal Himself to us in many ways.
One of His greatest messages was given to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. It is recounted by Moses in Deut. 4 "Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, `Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.' And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom. Then the LORD spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form-- only a voice. So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.” NAS
The people were terrified by the power and glory of the Lord God who had led them out of captivity in Egypt. When they heard His voice from the blazing mountain they begged Moses to go talk to Him for them and bring back the message they needed to hear. They promised that they would obey anything God said. They would serve Him as long as they did not have to listen to His voice.
This was only the start of God’s communication with Israel. He sent messages through prophets, dreams and visions. Each one was an extension or reinforcement of the thundering message delivered from the blazing mountain. Many came with demonstrations of supernatural power and divine glory.
Yet, we learn in the New Testament that the greatest message from God is not found in the Old Testament. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” He-brews 1:1-2 NAS
It is in the Son that we have the fullest and clearest message sent from God. The revelation through the Son is superior to commandments thundered from mountains, or visions delivered through prophets. The Son is the exact representation of the Father. When we see the Son, we have seen the Father.
The flaming mountain teaches us that God is great. This is a fundamental lesson Israel needed to learn. He expected His people to fear Him. Yet, this is a basic idea that most people seem to grasp. Almost all religions profess to follow a powerful god. The idea of a great and awesome god lurks within the human psyche.
The manger teaches us that God is good. Although He had every reason to leave us in our sin and rebellion, He met us at the point of our deepest need. Although He is high and holy, He is also meek and lowly. Although He cannot tolerate sin, He is able to provide the perfect sacrifice to cover over it.
There is a time that we each need to stand beneath the burning mountain and quiver before the thunder. But this is the season to kneel at the manger and wonder at the goodness of God. The incarnation is a heaven-sent message of joy for all people. All of humanity can meet God at the manger. The humble shepherd is not too low. The powerful Wiseman is not too high. All can kneel and adore the gracious gift of God’s love.