Steve’s Devotional – The God Who Came
DECEMBER 9, 2019
You can tell a lot about people by watching what they do. You can tell a lot about God by watching what he does. God is actively involved. The Word became flesh. He came: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,14).
So if want to know God—to really know him—watch what he does. Drawing on the account of Christ’s birth in Luke 2:1-7 and his description in Hebrews 1:1-3, what is the nature of the God who came?
God is Autonomous
God’s action is one-sided. Because God is God, anything you know about him, anything you receive from him and any time you touch him, it was his decision. He acted first.
Pascal’s observation is true: “I would not have searched for thee, had thou not already found me.” So was that of C.S. Lewis: “Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about ‘man’s search for God.’ To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat.”
At Christmas, God acted, God moved, God initiated.
The first prayer any believer ought to pray is “Thank you.” God didn’t have to come.
God is Surprising
Who would have thought that God—the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is—would have come as a little baby?
God surprises us in our lives. The principle is this: Whatever you think God is doing in your life right now, he probably isn’t. That principle helps me live with the paradox of trying to put God in a box. You see, he wants us to learn to trust him no matter what happens. Meaning isn’t to be found in having all questions answered, all problems solved, all ambiguity resolved. Meaning is found only in the fact that Jesus has come. If that is true, then the rest will be okay.
You find God in surprising places and doing surprising things. We are called to trust him…and not be surprised by his surprising action.
God is Love
You can tell the nature of the giver by the gift. At Christmas, God gave us the gift of his Son Jesus Christ. God said, “I love you.” Then he stretched out his arms on crossbeams and died.
The story of Christmas is a love story. Don’t be confused by the trinkets and the glitter. It’s not even about babies, stables, and wise men. Christmas is about love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Love came down at Christmas.
Love, in order to be love, must express itself. The Bible says that God is love; and if that is true, his love must find a tangible expression. That is what the incarnation is all about.
You can go to him…God loves you.
God is Definite
I don’t know about you, but I like definite people—those who have strong views and express them.
God is a definite God. In the incarnation, his action was clear and definite. He entered into space and time. He intervened.
Do you want to be saved? Do you want to be forgiven? Do you want to live forever? Go to God. He is the definite way. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
God is Quiet
God came to us as a little baby. God is wise in the ways of love. He knows that if you want someone to love you back, you have to be gentle. You catch a loved one the same way you catch a mountain trout. You do it very carefully and very gently. That is what God did at Christmas. He knew that love takes a while. He knew us. And so he whispered. That is why he came, very quietly, as a baby instead of as a king.
I love the way God came because I believe that says something about the way we can approach him. Over the years, I’ve slowly learned to find God in the silence of the still small voice.
He comes in a whisper: “And he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:11-12).
“Be still, and know that I am God,” the Psalmist says (Psalm 46:10).
We simply don’t live in the silence anymore. It seems that everything in our culture—the media, the schedule, the traffic, the pace—pushes us in the opposite direction and stands in the way of silence. Sometimes I think I hear God say to me, “Steve, just be quiet.”
Go to God in the silence. You will find him there.
God is Intentional
It is dangerous to be known…God comes to the unknown. It is dangerous to be somebody…God comes to the nobodies. It is dangerous to be prideful…God comes to the humble.
When Jesus came to earth, his original action was directed to the homeless, the lost, the sick, the unknown. When you aren’t humble, be very careful.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar” (Psalm 138:6). “Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor” (Proverbs 3:34).
God is Demanding
Joshua said to God’s people: “…choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
God has come…and now we have a choice. The incarnation was the time when the God of the universe served the ball into the world’s court. He said: “I love you. I have demonstrated my love, but I will not force it on you. You must come to me yourself. You don’t have to come with a gift, or with purity, or with a love like mine. But you must come. If you are thirsty I will give you living water, because I love you. But you must drink. If you are hungry I will give you the bread of life, because I love you. But you must eat. If you are tired and weary I will give you rest, because I love you. But you must lean on me. If you are sinful and dirty I will forgive you and clean you up, because I love you. But you must come.”
Time to Draw Away
Read Luke 2:1-21, John 1:1-5 & Hebrews 1:1-3
Who is God to you? How did God prove his love? If you’re hungry and thirsty, and in great need of forgiveness, rest and love, then come. Don’t hesitate. Don’t be afraid. Don’t turn away because you’re not good enough. Just come. God’s arms are wide open. And God’s grace is yours.