It is through personal revelation that our exclamation comes, “You are the God who…”
Did you know that God can delight in you assigning a name to him? I encouraged attendees to do so in the meditation held on Wednesday.
Do you know who scripture records as the first person to do so? Said in Hebrew, the name she gave is El Roi.
Hagar was Egyptian. A maidservant subjected to the will of her mistress Sarai. Now pregnant, suffering mistreatment, she runs away and has a personal encounter with God. God went after her in her fear and upset. The result? She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me.” She says “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13)
You are the God who… Who is God to you?
John the Baptist inaugurated Christ with a new name. He proclaimed, “You are the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, 36)
Christians might too quickly dismiss his words, thinking it’s not profound. But we have the benefit of 2k+ years of revelation post resurrection. John did not.
The only part of the New Testament John would have had was probably a hand written version of his father Zechariah’s prophetic song he wrote praising God and proclaiming John’s call and God's coming work, Luke 1:67-79. Maybe he also had a copy of Mary’s song, Luke 1:46-55. I’m sure verbal recollections were given to him many times regarding the angelic visitation of Gabriel. Mind blowing declarations and miraculous manifestations soon followed, Luke 1:5-45! There was no denying God was unfolding a plan. But what was it?
Who was coming? The angel Gabriel didn’t declare a lamb was coming. He said that John would be great before the Lord, bringing back people to the Lord, going on before the Lord, making ready a people prepared for the Lord. To Mary he said the one who was coming would be called the Son of God. Gabriel didn’t assign Lamb as a title.
In God’s divine assignment for John, he gave him godly and righteous parents. Both were from an extended legacy of the Levite priesthood. They both would have known the Old Testament, the Law, and the intricacies of the sacrificial system as a means to please and encounter God.
Did their religion help or hurt John as he grew up? I personally believe it helped him. Scripture says that his parents were upright, observing all of the Lord’s commandments blamelessly, Luke 1:6. It seems they understood something of grace because Zechariah refers to God as extending tender mercy, Luke 1:78. He prophetically announces and enabling people to serve God without fear, Luke 1:73-75. John grew up to be strong in spirit (Luke 1:80). I think they were a help, not a hindrance to his profound revelation. But who figured out the one coming was a divine lamb? The old system of sacrifice would end by one death, God himself.
John’s youth would have been one of preparation. One day, God would launch him out as a herald, a prophet to his people. He had to know what to say and do. He needed direction and answers. Certainly his childhood was a treasure hunt, searching for clues in the Old Testament. They probably had some good family discussions wrestling with scripture together, growing strong together.
Another special help besides family was given John. The Holy Spirit. Without His assistance, there is no revelation for salvation, Romans 8:9. God uniquely filled John with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Upon hearing the voice of Mary, John leaped in his mother Elizabeth’s womb by the presence of the spirit in him (Luke 1:44).
On Wednesday at the meditation, we pondered Isaiah 53, thinking it was a key scripture for John. Is Did he see the Lamb as God in these scriptures? At what age did John first say, "You are the God who takes away the sin of the world!"
To this day, Jewish people are confounded by Isaiah 52:13-53:1-12. One of their current Jewish study bibles says these are hotly contested verses; that many argue the servant mentioned symbolizes the entire Jewish people or a pious minority of Jewish people who suffer as a result of the sins of the nation at large. Another comment says that it could refer to a Messiah, but it is unlikely since nowhere else in Deuteronomy to Isaiah is there a reference to a Messiah. Others argue it refers to Jeremiah or Moses. Commentary does include Jesus but notes that “medieval rabbinic commentators devoted considerable attention to refuting this interpretation”. [i] This is the confusion created without the presence and help of the Holy Spirit. Man cannot know God without his help.
On Wednesday, we also reflected on suffering, Christ’s and our own. We pondered the description and relayed a first hand account of the suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53. We looked for any comparison of our own suffering. Could we connect to not having a beauty or majesty that attracted us to others? Have we ever been despised or rejected? Have we had much suffering? Are we familiar with pain? Do people hide their faces from us? Have we been held in low esteem by others? Have we ever been falsely accused? Also we considered how we do not compare to Christ. Are we currently astray in any area? We waited on the Holy Spirit to reveal, speak, open our eyes, receive His help. We responded, prayed, praised, worshiped the Lamb of God.
The Holy Spirit can show you how suffering gives us eyes to see our Savior. He shows us the depth of our unrighteousness in comparison to a holy Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. He brings meaning to our own suffering producing perseverance and character and hope. How does this happen? Only by God’s love being poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).
May you respond to the sacrificial gift of Heaven, Christ. May you pursue Him. May you assign him a name, a sweet incense of praise, “You are the God who…”
Blessings this resurrection season!
[i] Berlin, Adele; Brettler, Marc. The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring the Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. Oxford University Press, 2004, Print.
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Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!