A few thoughts on Advent...
We’ve entered the season of Advent, a beautiful time of the year set aside to remember Immanuel, God with us, the God who came out of heaven to be with us.
Tonight I was reading in the Old Testament about a time thousands of years before the coming of Jesus, when God met Moses in a burning bush and said that his name was Yahweh — I AM WHO I AM. In my ESV Study Bible, it says that “the word translated ‘I AM’…can also be understood and translated as ‘I WILL BE’…” The study notes point out that just a few verses earlier, God had promised Moses that “I will be with you” and when considered in this context, God is declaring that his very name is a reminder of His promise to be with us.
Immanuel. God with us. Yahweh. I will be with you.
Later in Exodus, God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him that, “The LORD [Yahweh], the God of the Hebrews, has met with us…”. The Study Bible has another beautiful observation here ::
To someone as powerful as the king of Egypt, Moses making a request in the name of the Lord, the God of the Hebrews would look ridiculous. What god would choose to be identified with a nation of slaves and then also presume to make a request from the king of the nation that has enslaved them? Given all the other equally true things that God could have told Moses to say to designate him (e.g., the Lord, the God who has created the heavens and the earth), he is evidently making the point to both Egypt and Israel that he has chosen to identify with the people of his covenant even when they appear to have little value in the eyes of the nation they serve except as forced labor.
God chooses not to identify with his power, with his eternal nature, with anything else in this instance except…slaves.
This reminds me of a description of Jesus ::
…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…
God, Jesus, they both continue to come down, make themselves lowly, in order to identify with us. To be our God. We can’t reach up to Him so He comes to us. In ultimate humility.
I read from Celtic Daily Prayer that “It is said that the door to the stable where the Christ-child has been born is very low—and only those who kneel find access.”
I keep thinking of the old musical The King and I. The story takes place in the kingdom of Siam, where the law dictates that your head can never be higher than the king’s. In a profound scene, a visiting English teacher must expend all of her attention and energy on keeping her head below that of the monarch as he drops his own body lower and lower during a religious exercise.
Don’t you want to be like that teacher? During this season, I hope we keep our eyes on Jesus, on Yahweh. As we examine his movements throughout history, as we glimpse his ridiculous, lovesick humility, I hope our heads never rise, but sink lower and lower in humble adoration of our beautiful King.
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