God Always Goes First

Posted by on Dec 16, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

With Christmas upon us, I’ve had a phrase rattling around in my heart and head. We’re probably more familiar with it as a lyric in Handel’s majestic 18th century oratorio Messiah than we are with it’s place of origin. It’s  tucked away in a poetic segment of an Old Testament book (one of the prophets to be exact), pulled from the shelf and dusted off this time of year as part of our annual musical tradition.

gift boxAll by themselves, the words are a mere memo. But taken in the context of human history and the redemptive story of the Bible, they are among the sweetest words ever recorded.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” (Isaiah 9:6)

This was no every day birth announcement! This was a declaration that God the Father was making good on His promise to do for humanity what humanity could never do for itself. A death sentence was issued against Adam and Eve for their rebellion in the garden (“The Fall” -Genesis 3), a sentence passed down to every one of us. This child would serve as a substitute for any who would be willing to let Him die in their place, absolving them of their guilt before a holy God.

The giving of God didn’t begin at the cross, but rather the moment our Savior left the glory of heaven to “take on flesh and dwell among us” (John 1:14). I’m struck by the fact that God the giver always goes first. Before there was light, He gave light and life … He gave a completer to Adam when he was alone … He gave humanity all it would ever need in the Garden … After the Fall, He gave a promise that He would redeem … and He gave us His Son. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.”

God always goes first and invites us to respond with humility, gratitude, obedience and generosity.

  • We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor 1:3–4)
  •  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4:32)
  •  “… the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Matt 20:26–28)

Perhaps our greatest joy in giving (especially this time of year) is the profound reminder that all we have to give away was given to us by the One who always goes first.


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