Another one of my favourite portions of Scripture is the beginning of Hebrews. I love the way it reels in.
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Heb 1:1-3 (KJV)
Indeed, I used the King James Version because it seems almost poetic to me. But in it I find the greater truth of the unchangeability (is there a word like that?) of God.
God is constant in everything, character and personality.
As he was in the beginning, so He is now, and he will never change.
There was never a time God did not desire fellowship with His people. Right from Adam, down to the Israelites, God had been doing His best to reveal the very true nature of His person to humanity. But humanity has cowered from Him.
When the Adams family sinned, the Bible records that their eyes became opened and they realised that they were naked. My contention has never been about the fact that they were naked, but at the fact that they could see themselves in the first place.
For the amount of time they were with God in the Garden, they knew only to look to God and to His goodness. Nothing was more spectacular than to examine the beauty of God’s creation, and to give Him the glory day and night. Nothing was more exhilarating than to have God call out in the cool of the day, to commune with man.
Before, they used to look at each other and see the image of God, and the shining glory He was imparting daily to them. Now, it was just plain Eve, and plain Adam
All was well, until that day that man disobeyed God. Disobeyed, thinking himself capable of everything, but realising in the end that he was indeed nothing on his own, but another naked beast. The other animals in the garden were naked as well, and now there was no difference between man and beast.
Before, they used to look at each other and see the image of God, and the shining glory He was imparting daily to them. Now, it was just plain Eve, and plain Adam.
And they knew they could not stand before God in that manner. So they hid themselves. Out of fear and shame, they hid themselves. Man, began the hiding. God never hid from man. Never has, never will.
And that is what he has done since the beginning: seek man out. Man has been the one refusing.
God has continuously attempted to reveal Himself to man, and to show forth His amazing grace and willingness to forgive and accept man again. Man on the other hand has forever been fearful. The fear in man, not being one of righteous respect for God, is the reason why God had to keep man away from Him.
No. Not because he wants man away, but because the presence of fear of God in a man is in itself a sin. Understand what fear means in this context. This is the fear of the worst, that doubts the genuineness of God and His love, and His willingness to forgive. With that kind of fear, all that man expects from God is certain death. Total annihilation. And all the wonderful works that God does will only amplify the belief that He is a beast. A beast, that will strike you dead instantly.
That sort of fear is peculiar because with it, all you get is what you fear. When God said no man could see Him and live, it was not because He was willing to kill, but because the make-up of man now included a fear that would indeed warrant a striking down, for that fear was impure and unholy, and did not come from a true understanding of who God is. it was from a perverted understanding of the person of God. That was clearly iniquity. That kind of fear does not behold God.
it is a fear that causes us to draw away from God rather than draw near, and to look away from His hand even when he extends it to us. It is a fear that makes you unable to face God and admit the truth. It harbours a lie in you, and makes sure you do not expose yourself to God.
So rather than admit to His wrongdoing, Adam blamed God for His wrongdoing. Yes.
“Well God, it’s the girl. You’re the one who gave her to me. I did not give her to myself. This is your fault, not mine”.
And the girl quickly passed the buck as well. Not one thought to tell the truth. because they were completely consumed and paralysed by unrighteous fear of God. A fear that’ll push one to lie rather than die. That way, you are “alive”. When you should be dead (if you get this, you get it).
Hebrews tells us of God’s work however, pushing Himself to the forefront of the lives of men, showcasing at every turn His goodness and love.
He saved them from Egypt. No sight. He killed of Egyptians for their sake. No sight. He parted the Red Sea. Still, the people did not see. Great signs and wonders in the wilderness. Still, the people did not get God. All through the periods of the Judges to the Kings, to exile, and to His many powerful manifestations of His love, the people did not get it.
Fireworks were bombs to them. His voice was too loud, and they could not adapt to it. It was a scary thing for them.
God was so heartbroken, He depicted this in the life of a prophet, depicting the lop-sided relationship between God and His people. It showed how God was the lover; the scorned lover.
Everything he did up till Jesus was to show His great love. Every prophet he sent gave words to express His person, and tell narratives of the person of the Glorious God. He only wanted His people to get Him; to know Him.
But the fear in man continuously made him run into hiding at every expression of God. Thing is, as long as God was up there and we were down here, that fear would still be potent. Up there, He is a God humans could not relate with. All the expressions of His power and majesty just made people fear the more. They could not get the full picture.
That was the situation until God made the biggest display of His love and person. He became up-close-and-personal with man. In fact, He was rather down-to-earth with the showcase, and gave us an express image of Himself, just like us in all ramification, to walk among us carrying the full personality and character of the omnipotent God on the streets of Galilee, side-by-side with common fishermen. This revelation was not just the glory of God, but the brightness of the glory of God. He was not just the image of God, but the express image of God. There was simply no room for inferences and implied terms.
All the words He had given before joined forces to create the biggest and most complete representation of Him ever: Christ the Messiah.
Truly and indeed, the Word became flesh! God is complete in Jesus.