I have been spending a great deal of time reading the Bible lately. The last few years actually. However, lately I have been really immersing myself into the word. I find that the more I read, the more I realize that God is not just some angry, jealous creature out there wanting to punish us. Instead, he's a hurting, loving Father who wants his children to love him. His ways seem mysterious at times, and even baffling. However, as a father of four, it is very easy for me to see that love that underlies all of the old testament, and flourishes in the new.
God freed his people from slavery, and led them out with the promise that they could take the land that was rightfully theirs. Instead of trusting him, they not only refused to go on, they created man made gods to worship while he was giving them the law they were crying for. Could you imagine your own children asking you to re-enslave them after you had just freed them, and then while you were writing the 10 commandments for them to follow, they went looking for a new god?
You see they were free, completely and utterly free when they left Egypt. Then God gave them the commandments. You see the people were not able to keep simple things in faith. They were told that God was providing for them.. and yet when it came to not having food, or water they began to cry out. "Would that we would have remained in Egypt, did God bring us out here to die?" They did not trust God to solve their problems, but each time he did they did not listen to his answer. In answering their petitions they did not follow through in trust of God. He told them to gather only enough mana for one day, and then on Friday gather a double measure so that on the sabbath they would have enough food. He also warned if they gathered too much any other time it would rot. What happened? They did not trust in him, and instead gathered too much and it became rotten and filled with maggots.
They were not able to put their faith in God, so he spent 40 years teaching them to do just that. So the people that were free, had placed themselves back into slavery. From slaves in Egypt they became free men, then they themselves became slaves to Sin. The only way to be freed of the curse of Sin was to spill blood. We see this foreshadowed by Cain and Abel. Cains sacrifice of wheat was not sufficient, only the blood from Abel's was able to cover the sin. The Lord was showing us in the very first offering that blood was needed to cover our sin.
Then later Abraham and Isaac. We are all familiar with this story where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham ties him up and is about to do it, when an Angel comes down and tells him to stop. They find a ram in the thicket, for them to sacrifice instead. Once again we are seeing a foreshadow of the spotless lamb of God, who will be sacrificed for our sins, in our place. Then again with the Israelites. They began to have a scapegoat. They would place the curse of sin on a goat and send it into the desert. If the goat died in the desert, the curse was lifted and they were not guilty of sin. If the goat returned to them they were still guilty. You see God was showing us that eventually there would be another who would come down for our sins, and he would bear the yoke of the world on his shoulders. He would go into the desert for us, and would die for our curse.
Then we have the beautiful, and yet gruesome event of Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus, the spotless lamb of God, the only begotten Son of God, came down and lived a pure life. He then went to the cross and his blood was spilled as propitiation for us. You see Jesus was the final, perfect sacrifice. His blood washed all sin away, as long as we believe in Him! He is our Moses, who leads us into freedom. You see each of us is a slave to Sin, we are weak in our flesh, but through Jesus Christ we can be risen with him into a spiritual being. Jesus was our scapegoat, he took our sin with him into death, and removed the curse from us, the penalty. Our Father loved us so much that he provided his only Son that we might have life! God is indeed love, he wants each and everyone of us to turn to him and believe in him and find obedience in that love. Not because we have to, not because we need to, but because we want to! He wants us to want to follow his commandments, to want to follow him! I pray that each person will receive this as it is intended, and will yearn to love Adonai with all of their heart, their soul and their mind.
May God watch over you, keeping you in his arms, blessing you fully. May He teach each and every one of us to love with that pure agape love that comes from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May we all learn to love our neighbors completely, as much as we love ourselves, always doing for them the kind of things we desire for ourselves. May we learn to be humble as the servant, putting ourselves in Jesus' shoes. The King of Kings came down to us as a servant, serving his apostles, washing their feet, may we learn to reflect on this and embody Jesus Christ everyday of our lives.