Because of who God is, from the beginning of the world He has been a shining example to all creation. He is the personification of love, and of the Father who will do anything for His children. From the earth’s inception, He determined that He would die for them to demonstrate this love. But His immense love also demands that He discipline His progeny so as to keep them from harm and to influence others from straying off the path of righteousness. It is why – when they chose to sin – He had to rebuke and punish them.
Surely the heavenly host knew all these things. They had been with Him since creation and had been at His side during that process. We know this from Job 38:6-7 in His speaking of this marvelous creative process:
“On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
God’s divine sons knew of His power, and they knew of His humility. They had been with Him, interacted relationally with Him, and observed who He was. Despite this, something rose up in His heavenly offspring that prompted rebellion.
The first rebellion was Satan’s in the Garden that we see in Genesis 3:1:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
The second rebellion occurred in the Genesis 6:1-4 account:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
The sons of God thought they could make better offspring than their Father. It resulted in disaster.
Once more rebellion took place among the bene Elohim following the disobedience of man at the Tower of Babel. Deuteronomy 32:8 (ESV) tells us:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
This third rebellion occurred when these sons took it upon themselves to lord it over the nations and to set up shop as gods over the peoples they were supposed to point back to Yahweh in Israel. We know of this extreme disobedience because of God’s immense displeasure at them noted in Psalm 82:6-7:
I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
The puzzling thing is why such rebellion occurred among these most privileged of beings. They had it all in their spiritual home, yet felt they needed something more. Their hearts were deceived. Because of this, they chose to walk away from their Father’s goodness. How so?
They interacted with humanity in such a way that lifted themselves above man; something God never intended. For some reason they decided that they could do a better job of being god than God. Their pride and arrogance in these various rebellious endeavors grew to such extremes that they corrupted all that Yahweh had made good. Just as God subsequently advised His people in Haggai 1:5:
Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.
… so He certainly made it clear to His heavenly sons the true ways of God.
How did He do this?
He sent His One and only begotten Son to earth as an example to man and the divine. He came in the form of a lowly human being who had nothing more than God’s very own attributes. Philippians 2:6-11 recounts this for us about Jesus:
… who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Rather than elevating Himself above man as His disobedient sons did, Jesus did exactly the opposite so all above the earth, on the earth, and beneath the earth would know the truth of God.
And so it is on the Christmas day that we can exalt Him above all. As Isaiah 9:6 declares:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
How marvelous that our God is not like all the pretenders to the throne over the ages. Knowing this, should we not, just as He counseled the people in Haggai’s day, consider [our] ways?
To echo Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest:
“Let’s bless Jesus Christ this Christmas and in the coming year by surrendering our lives fully to Him and acknowledging that the most important time of every day is the time we spend with Him.”