Emmanuel

As Moses kept the sheep of Jethro, the Midianite, in the back side of the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God, and there he beheld a strange thing. Upon the rugged sides of that notable mountain there burned a bush with fire, but in spite of the fierce flames that enwrapped it, that bush was not consumed. Wonder at this great sight moved Moses to turn aside to discover why this should be, when the voice of God arrested him, and be found that he was in the immediate presence of the great I AM.

Out of that bush God spoke to the man, and told him of salvation for His people — free, great, and full. He revealed Himself as the almighty Deliverer.

The scoffing critic declares that for a bush to burn with fire and not be consumed is a physical impossibility, and so relegates this story, along with many another in Holy Writ, to the realm of legend and myth. But that which moves to ridicule the blind but presumptuous "wise and prudent" of the earth yields the most precious lessons to those who love God and His Word. In that burning bush there was foreshadowed the most extraordinary event that could happen in the history of time.

The flame of fire tells us of God: "For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29). And the bush tells us of men, poor, sinful, rebellious men — dry, withered, and useless, by whom no fruit was yielded to God. If God, who is a consuming fire, and who must judge all iniquity, should at any time come down into the midst of the dry and fruitless bush of humanity, and He has a right to do this whenever He pleases, what shall the result be? Why, there can be but one result, we should say, the bush will be consumed. Such is the natural thought of men, and thence the desire to keep God at a distance. And in this thought we seem to be confirmed as we read the record of Sinai. There at that awesome mount, the same at which Moses had had his first interview with God, the law of God was given, and out from its cloud-crested summit the lightnings flamed forth, and the thunders boomed and rolled, and as God spoke to the people they feared exceedingly and begged that they might not hear that majestic voice again, but that Moses would become a mediator for them.

Yes, it would seem to us, as we contemplate that sight, that men must be consumed if God comes into the midst of them. But such a thought is false, fundamentally and absolutely false, as God's "due time" has proved.

That due time arrived when the virgin daughter of David's royal house brought forth her firstborn Son and "laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn." Here was a sight for the angels of God, a sight that moved the whole multitude of them to rapturous praise, for the name of that Babe was called EMMANUEL, which, being interpreted, is "God with us." The Babe in Bethlehem's manger was the great antitype of the burning bush. "God was manifest in the flesh and seen of angels." God was in the midst of men and they were not consumed.

But for what purpose was God in the midst of men? There could be only one reason for this great event. If He had desired to send some message of warning, entreaty, or command, a servant like unto the prophets would have served the purpose, for at sundry times and in diverse manners He thus addressed the fathers of old. If He had intended to make an example of sinners by executing His righteous judgment against them for their sins, an angel or two would have sufficed, as in the case of the guilty cities of the plain. But when Emmanuel appears, men and angels must be silent, and stand aside, and every ear must be attentive unto Him, for He comes to reveal the eternal purposes of God, and declare and bring to pass the intentions of divine and infinite love. "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17).

If sinners were to be saved God must come down to them to do it, and if God comes down to sinners He must come as their Saviour, His very nature demands this, and His wisdom has found a way by which it can be done, according to the righteousness of the eternal throne. So Emmanuel's name is JESUS. Blessed, precious name! Name of reproach and shame on earth, name of ignominy upon the cross, name above every name in heaven above, name that through endless ages shall thrill a universe with gladness, and blend in harmonious praise the joy of every creature within the limitless bounds of the realm of the Redeemer-God.

"Sweetest Name on mortal tongue,
  Sweetest carol ever sung,
Sweetest note on seraph song —
  Jesus! Jesus! JESUS!"

Jehovah Saviour

The world opened a stable door to receive Him, and thus advertised its contempt and hatred of Him, but He accepted in an infinite meekness the place they assigned to Him, that He might open out before the eyes of the poorest and the least the priceless treasures of divine compassion and love.

And so He moved through this world "seen of angels;" they rejoiced in that goodness which dwelt in Him: the goodness of God by which He overcomes evil, even though men upon whom it flowed forth did not appreciate it. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, dried the tears upon the widow's cheeks, kissed the children into the kingdom of God, and preached the gospel to the poor. God had visited men, for "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19).

This is a great sight for us to turn aside and see, greater than that which Moses saw, as the substance is greater than the shadow. And in the presence of God made known to us, and brought nigh to us in Jesus, our souls can stay without a fear, and not as Moses, who "hid his face and was afraid to look upon God," for "GOD IS LOVE."

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10).

"WE LOVE HIM, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US" (1 John 4:19).