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Posts Tagged ‘Love of God’

Two mountains which figure prominently in the Bible when taken together, represent the character of God.  One mountain is characterized  by a consuming fire.  On that mountain, God displayed His judgment and His holiness.  The other mountain is characterized by blood and sacrifice.  On that mountain, God displayed His consuming love and mercy.

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai is the backdrop for Israel’s receipt of the Law.  The mountain is where God met Moses and is primarily characterized by fire:

  • Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.  Exodus 19:18
  •  The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.  Exodus 24:17
  • Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.  Deuteronomy 4:11
  •  The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.  Deuteronomy 5:4
  •  Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.  Deuteronomy 9:10
Mount Zion
The other mountain is Mount Zion (found within the land given to the tribe of Judah).   Mt. Zion was sometimes called The City of David, and descriptions of Mt. Zion paint a very different picture from those describing Mt. Sinai:
  • Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed-This Mount Zion where You have dwelt.  Psalm 74:2
  • But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.  Psalm 78:68
  •  Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.  Psalm 125:1
  • And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.  Joel 2:32
  • Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.  Revelation 14:1

Paul makes the case for the two mountains in his letter to the Hebrews:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. . . . And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.  

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.   Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:18-29

It is the same God of both mountains, so we should keep both mountains in view:

  • one where God laid down His law, a place of judgment.
  • one where God laid down His life, a perfect sacrifice, a place of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
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One of the most beautiful pictures of the love of God and the foreshadowing of Jesus is found in the Tabernacle at the Mercy Seat.  When you visit the Tabernacle in your mind’s eye, you must first enter the gate, then cross the court yard, pass the bronze altar, make your way past the laver and then enter the first partition separating the outer courts from the holy place.

Once inside the holy place, you will find only the light of the golden candlesticks.  By its light, you will see the table of show bread and the altar of incense which is right outside of the Most Holy Place.  As you push aside the last veil separating you from the presence of God which occupies the Most Holy Place, you will look in and see there is only one piece of furniture – the Ark.

The Ark was a box covered with gold and on top of which were two cherubim with their wings touching.  Inside of the Ark was found the law (the tablets from Moses with the 10 Commandments).  The top, the covering over the law was known as the mercy seat.  It was here that God promised to meet with His people.  It was here that the High Priest was to sprinkle blood.

The picture is one of mercy.  God would bring mercy and cover the law.  God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of Christ in Him.  It is the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat (covering the law), that speaks of Jesus, of Calvary where Jesus’ blood would be shed once and for all to pay for the sins of all men so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.

That is amazing love.  O, what a savior!

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on knowing God through looking at the attribute of His great love for us, we discussed how the scriptures of the Old and New Testament describe the love of God.  In this post and those following, we will consider some of the pictures that God has used to illustrate His love.

Abraham and Isaac

One of the pictures of God’s love, actually a foreshadowing of the coming of Messiah, was the story of Abraham and Isaac.  You may recall the story recounted in Genesis 22 where God tests Abraham asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah.  Abraham takes his son, goes up with him to the mountain, binds his son to the altar that he built and proceeds to prepare to sacrifice his only son as God asked.  As he is lowering the knife to slay his son, God stops him.  God provides a substitute sacrifice (a ram caught in the thicket) instead of Isaac.  This picture of God’s love is the picture of the substitutionary sacrifice.  God had every right to require the first born child of his marriage to Sarah from Abraham.  Nevertheless, because of His great mercy and His promises to Abraham, God provided a sacrifice to satisfy the blood requirement.  This substitutionary sacrifice is seen again on Calvary, years later when Jesus died, once for all.  He who knew no sin, died for those who were under sin’s curse.

Deliverance of Isarael

Another great picture of the love of God and His heart for Israel (and us for whom the wall of separation was removed by the blood of Jesus) is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.  You may recall this story from Exodus.  The people of God are in captivity in Egypt.  They have been reduced to slavery.  Their oppressors fear them and make their life difficult.  They are even forced to kill their children.  God hears their cries from their bondage, and from within the their own ranks, God raises up a deliverer, Moses.  By the hand of God on Moses, the people of God are delivered from their oppressors and allowed to follow their God and worship Him.  This picture of God the deliverer is emphasized again and again by God in the Old Testament.

By these pictures, we begin to see God’s love.  You may want to go back and read the stories in their entirety and ask God to speak to you of His great love.

In our next post, we will look at some more pictures that God provides to illustrate His gr eat and amazing love.

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