By Michael Roop
We continue our advent series this Sunday by lighting the Love candle. Love is the central descriptor to God’s character. When Moses is on the mountain and the Lord’s presence descends all around him, God proclaims about Himself, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6).
What’s striking about this description is its context. God makes this pronouncement of His own character while Moses is interceding on behalf of a “stiff-necked people” who have already broken the covenant by worshiping the image of a golden calf! Is that not a perfect description of you and I? Stiff-necked, stubborn, rebellious, over-confident in our own abilities and refusal to submit to God.
So Moses climbs a mountain to intercede, pleading with the Lord to remain among His people, to forgive their sins, and to take them as His inheritance. In an incredible act of grace, God listens to the intercessor, and the covenant is renewed.
Centuries later, another Intercessor would climb a hill, but this time with a cross on His back. As His body is broken in the place of ours, He intercedes for a stiff-necked people. When His blood is shed, a new covenant is instituted, one in which the sins of God’s people are forgiven and God dwells among His people, in their very hearts!
The Apostle John puts it this way: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). And as we live through Him, we come to find that this love that characterizes our God also characterizes us. This is the admonition of John, just one or two verses prior. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).
So this Christmas season, let us walk in love that defines our God, the love that is meant to define us as well!