December 2009

Christmas will soon be upon us reminding us again of God’s smiling and loving face to us. The beautiful prayer in Numbers 6:24 enjoins, “The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.” God’s love to us is not a faceless, theoretical love but a visible, dramatic act. God so loved us that He gave His only Son for us.

I wrote in the Old Testament Guidebook on page 102 the following:
“Joshua’s moving farewell is recorded in chapter 24, but he exhorts the nation in chapter 23 as well.  A few things come to the forefront for review. First, there is an emphasis upon individual responsibility and not just national. Each tribe is responsible to expel the enemies from its land. Each person is responsible for his own lot. You remember that Caleb took that responsibility upon himself and drove out the enemies from his allotment. Joshua made it plain that “one man shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised (23:10).” Personal responsibility and personal victory are a vital part of the plan. Joshua cast a broad net to the nation in exhorting them to faithfulness in cleaving to the Lord. But then in his farewell section in Shechem he came down to the individual emphasis with the statement, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (24:15).’
Modern-day Christianity has too often lost itself in the crowd and seems to enjoy the ‘faceless status’ of an impersonal testimony.  People do and say things on social web sites that they would be ashamed to do in person. The anonymity of the ‘chat room’ has snared the faceless actors into a bondage that could easily end in moral shipwreck. There are to be no ‘faceless actors’ in the ranks of God’s people. Each and everyone of us is responsible to be like Christ, to seek holiness and to serve the Lord diligently.”
God’s love displays the most beautiful face ever to grace this earth, the face of Jesus Christ! We joyfully sing, “Face to face shall I behold Him!” Our obedience to God should be a visible face of godliness, a face reflecting the love and holiness of our thrice-holy Saviour!

We feel a deep desire to gratefully reflect that Glorious Love to those about us this Christmas season! I will be preaching the Christmas message in the two churches which I have formerly pastored here. One message will be in Arabic and the other in English. The lovely face of our Blessed Saviour  shines equally bright in one language just as it does in another. Thank you for encouraging us on!