This is the month of God’s Grace, and are we not blessed for we are living in a period of time when God’s Grace, His awesome favour is being poured out upon mankind. I take great comfort as I look back through the Old Testament and see how God’s grace and favour was so evident in the lives of the Israelites all those thousands of years ago and how very real it is in our lives today. It gives me hope and makes me expectant. God does not change; He is still I AM and He reigns over His creation. Think of the Israelites at the time of Pharaoh, the Pharaoh who did not know Joseph, who said, “look they are too numerous and powerful for us” (Exodus 5:5.) They knew poverty, hardship and little comfort. The prosperous land of Goshen, where they had previously enjoyed favor, was a distant memory. The days when Joseph had served with Pharaoh were long gone and the covenant that God had made with them seemed so distant, a circumcised foreskin was the strongest sign that it even existed. They were slaves, forced to work for little reward, life was harsh and where was Yahweh? But God had not forgotten them, He sent Moses, and the Israelites were released from cruel oppression and their journey into freedom and favour with God began.
A beautiful picture of God’s Grace, His undeserved, unmerited favour as He led an army of rebellious, down and outs out of Egypt into a land filled with milk and honey. A journey in which the people of Israel were fashioned into a people who knew the ways of God, they did not necessarily follow them but the Law was given to teach them the ways of God. They became a separated people who were intended to reveal the mercy, grace and goodness of God to the surrounding pagan nations. The people of Israel had done nothing to earn God’s favour, nothing to earn His protection or His supply. He had chosen them, He called and Abraham responded showing faith, and it was credited to him as righteousness, (Genesis 15;6.) Jacob had shown faith when he went to offer Isaac, and now a People were learning faith, learning how to please God. And it is all because of God’s grace towards man, His undeserved mercy and favour.
Five= Faith= Mercy= Love= Grace.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Don’t think of God’s Word like an anatomy book where you read facts and see clear unchanging pictures. Rather, see scripture as a mine, one that we dig into; we dig, we sift and we find gold. Truth unfolds as layers and layers of truth are exposed and God reveals Himself to us. So many times when we read the Old Testament we see patterns and pictures as we recognize the types and shadows of things to come, especially those things to come through the promised Saviour Jesus Christ. Looking at the number 5 which as we have seen speaks of God’s Grace, I see so many patterns of five that reveal this unmerited, undeserved favour as God makes a way for His people to come to Him. And who are His people…..all who believe and come to Him through Jesus Christ His son.
In the tabernacle, the tent of meeting constructed in the wilderness, as the Israelites made their way to the Land of promise, stood an altar on which five sacrifices could be made;
A Burnt offering - general atonement and an expression of devotion to God.
A Grain offering - a voluntary expression of devotion to God.
A Peace offering - a meal consecrated and shared between two parties or more, committing to each other’s prosperity in future.
A Sin offering - to purify oneself for re-entering the presence of God.
A Guilt offering - to make reparation for one’s sins. Reparation comes from the root word "repair." Reconciliation. A picture of all that we receive in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our atonement, through Him we are purified and may enter God’s presence. Through Him we come into a deep wonderful relationship with God our Father. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. Receiving Him, believing in Him is all that God requires for us to enter into the Holy of Holies, no longer is our entry barred by a thick woven curtain. A curtain made of fine twined linen, blue purple and scarlet with Cherubim woven into them, five on one side, five on the other fastened by golden sachets preventing anyone from entering in. And of course today we know there is no curtain, no barrier to the dwelling place of God. The meal we share together we often call communion as we bless the bread and the wine and drink and eat together in fellowship, remembering and worshiping our Lord for all He has done for
us. Now we may enter in to the Holy of Holies, into His divine presence where the love of God, His mercy and His grace is poured out onto us and as we persevere the Lord has promised His glorious crowns.
His grace is sufficient for all of us and His enabling strength carries us through. God offers crowns to encourage us to persevere and not to lose heart, not because of anything we do in our own strength but for all that we do in and through Him. Five beautiful Crowns, a symbol of His authority.
His Incorruptible Crown - 1 Corinthians 9:25
The Crown of Righteousness - 2 Timothy 4:8
The Crown of Glory - 1 Peter 5:4
The Crown of Life - James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10
The crown of rejoicing - 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Philippians 4:1
Each beautiful crown revealing God’s love, His recognition and reward for those who love Him and seek to do His will. Just today I read of a young pastor in Eastern Uganda murdered earlier this year for following Christ, his family threatened and terrified into silence. His name is Pastor Adinani Bulwa, unknown to most of us but treasured by the Lord. His crown is waiting and the Lord is there to receive him home. Sometimes we feel so burdened by this cruelty and waste of precious life but God would encourage us to look ahead and to see His ultimate plan, to know His compassionate and boundless love that will wipe away every tear.
He will be returning, soon I believe, to claim all that is His and to see the whole of creation renewed and restored. Perhaps this is way beyond our understanding but it is His promise. This is what He said as recorded by John, John 14:1-4 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
A promise for all who believe and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour. A promise of eternal life with Him, living in a land, in a way that He initially intended as He created us at the beginning of the world. A world without sin, a people chosen and bought by Him for eternal purpose, to live and worship God the Father and the Son through the power of God the Holy Spirit. All because of grace, undeserved favour, poured out for us. This is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we do carry good news, so let us share it and all in our own way go out and tell others about what Jesus has done for us.
G = God
R = is Reconciling
A = All
C = Creation to Himself
E = for Eternity.
Be Blessed !