Generosity Is God’s Idea (Part 3)

In continuation with the last blog the second example of God’s Generosity is:

The Lamb of God

Another example of God’s generosity toward mankind is found in the story of Israel’s deliverance from 400 years bondage in Egypt. (Exo 3:7-10) Even if you have never read the account in the Bible, you may have seen the movie, The Ten Commandments. In the story, Moses returned from Midian to Egypt (Exo 4:19-20) in order to follow God’s command to tell Pharaoh to: “Let my people go!” (Exo 7:16, Exo 5:1) Moses confronts his stepbrother, the Pharaoh. (Exo 2:10) (Moses had been adopted into the royal family by this Pharaoh’s mother when, as a young girl, she had found him in the basket in the river. (Exo 2:3-10) Now in his stepbrother’s Egyptian court, Moses gives Pharaoh God’s command to release the Israelites.

Pharaoh has an arrogant heart and scoffs at Moses. (Remember, too, the pharaohs believed they were gods.)1 As a result, different plagues were unleashed upon Egypt – one each time Moses demanded Pharaoh release God’s people. (Exo 7:14; 12:32) But each time Pharaoh’s heart is further hardened, and he refuses. (Exo 7:13; 14; 8:15; 19,32; 9:7; 37) With each refused demand, God sends a plague to demonstrate HIS power against the false gods of Egypt. In fact, each of the plagues came in direct opposition to one of the many false gods of Egypt. They worshiped the Nile River: God turned it to blood. (Exo 7:14-25) They worshiped the sun: God turned the day into night (Exo 10:21-29) and so forth. Arguably, each plague was more destructive than the previous one.

The last plague was the most devastating of all: the death of the first born of every family in Egypt. (Exo 11:1-10) But God made a provision for His people, as found in Exodus 12. Each Israelite family was to take a spotless lamb, sacrifice it and drain its blood. With the blood, they were to mark the doorframe of the entrance to their home. (Exo 12:1-7) God had instructed Moses that if the blood of the lamb, a perfect lamb, were painted across the doorpost, then all those within that home would be saved. (Exo 12:1-13) This act becomes known as the Passover (Exo 12:14-28), because God promised to “pass His wrath over” (Exo 12:27) each house – including the first-born – sealed with the blood. What they couldn’t do to save themselves, God did for them.

Generosity Is God’s Idea (Part 3)If you saw the movie The Ten Commandments, you can recall and visualize this particular scene. In the night’s sky, fingers of a misty green fog descended from heaven and settled on the ground. Then the fog – representing the death Angel – slowly crept across the ground and seeped under the unmarked doors of each home, those without the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. Across the city, you could hear the rising screams of grief as one first-born after another succumbed to God’s wrath. It is sobering to think about the pain of such an experience. (Exo 12:29-30) It is why, even today, Jews celebrate the Passover (Exo 12:14) and their deliverance from God’s wrath by the blood of one unblemished lamb. (Exo 12:5-8; 11-13)

Now fast-forward in time to the Jordan River. Here is a man, a locust-eating and camel-hair-wearing, crazy man, disheveled and unkempt, by most accounts – named John the Baptist. (Mark 1:1-11; Matt 3:1-13) Jesus approaches him and wants to be baptized. What does John say ‒ knowing that the religious elite, the Pharisees, are watching, listening, and ridiculing? He declares: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) Why would he say that, using those words and unnecessarily offending these religious leaders? Unless, of course, he was making the boldest of statements.

John knew that in Jesus, mankind would be reconciled to God. (Rom 5:10-16) Only through Jesus, and no other, the wrath of God would be quenched and the harmony of a pure relationship with God the Father would be restored once and for all. (Rom 5:10-19; Heb 9:26; 10:12-14) We could now have through Christ, the same relationship with God that Adam and Eve had before their disobedience. (Rom 5:17- 21) John was declaring that Jesus was our final, complete substitution. There need be – there can be – no other. Through Jesus Christ, the old covenant would pass; the New Covenant of Grace would be established (Heb 8:13). Through Christ, we all could be adopted as children of God. (Rom 8:15; Eph 1:5)

With these words, John declared that there was nothing we could do to make ourselves acceptable to God. Through His death and burial, this Lamb paid our sin debt. It was only what someone else – the perfect and sinless One – did that made us acceptable to God for fellowship with Him. Jesus, the Son of God (Eph 2:4-22), through His death, burial, and resurrection, finished the work of the Father (John 17:1-5), so that we could be reconciled to God. (1Pet 1:3-9; 1 John 4:8-10)

 

About Michael Stickler

Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought-after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.

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