As I write, Britain is in political and social turmoil. Disagreement over Brexit and how it should be effected is leading to frustration, confusion, uncertainty and near despair. So much is at stake and, however it all turns out in the end, it would seem that the losers will lose a lot and the winners will win little. Important and serious as the situation regarding our relationship with the EU is, and it is important and serious, there is actually something else even more important and serious. In short, it is not just the political and social state of the nation that matters, but the spiritual.
In Exodus 3 we read of God appearing to Moses. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt living under appalling oppression and God spoke to Moses concerning their plight. “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out….So I have come down to rescue them…..”. In one sense that was a foretaste of the incarnation, the time when God would “come down” in the person of his Son and live among us. How encouraging is the angel’s announcement to the shepherds that, in the town of David, a Saviour had been born to them. Here is Immanuel, ‘God with us’. They were not to be afraid, but rather encouraged! There is also, in John’s prologue to his gospel, an encouraging excitement about the incarnation. “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.
Pharaoh proved to be a tough person for Moses to negotiate with. Indeed, even after nine devastating plagues it seemed he would not give an inch. But with the tenth plague Pharaoh had to give way and God’s purpose was fulfilled. Jesus “came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him”. But his ultimate purpose was not thwarted, for “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God”.
God, in Christ, has come alongside us, to share in our life, our suffering and our world. He has a way out of every human predicament. But it is his way, and it goes via the death, resurrection, ascension of Christ. We need to follow that way and no other. (And, incidentally, will not God have the final say regarding Brexit?)
I wish all who read this a joyful and peaceful Christmas and much blessing throughout 2019. And, if I don’t see you before, I look forward to welcoming you to the third Saffron Walden Bible Focus on September 21st!