Advent – our enduring God
“for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness.”
The word endurance here probably means to provide for people’s needs despite an ungrateful response. The translations use the words ‘He suffered’, ‘He put up with them’, ‘He took care of them’, ‘patient with them’, ‘he nursed them’.
That God would do such a thing is amazing love in itself.
In fact, Paul was probably referring to Deuteronomy 1:31 when he used the word ‘endured’.
“There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
Despite their behaviour, he carried them as a father carries his son.
In the coming days there will be many re-enactments of the story of Christmas. Maybe this year you can have a fresh understanding of the endurance of our God, that He cares enough to carry.
Some people are like King Herod. He wanted to kill Jesus for the Christ-child threatened his insecure position. They live their life questioning God’s existence. They are threatened by the claims of Christianity and so choose to dismiss them. God endures the Herod’s for He loves them.
Some people are like the Chief priests and teachers of the Jewish law. They knew where the promised Messiah would be born. Were they looking for the birth? No. Some can recite the nativity, they know the beliefs of Christianity, but it means nothing because they do not yet know Christ. God endures the religious for He loves them.
Some people are like the Magi. Maybe this year has been a year of investigation, looking at the claims of Jesus Christ. For some people along the way there have been seasons of doubt and even of fear and they have thought about turning around. God endures the Magi for He loves them.
Some people are like the Shepherds. Granted they didn’t have an angelic host sing to them, but this year their life has turned around. God has come to them, He revealed Himself to them. To those who know what it is to nurse and care for straying sheep, God endures the Shepherds for He loves them.
Some people are like the Innkeeper. Some are sympathetic to Christianity. If they had more time or more room in their life they would seriously consider its beliefs. God endures the innkeepers for He loves them.
Some people are like Joseph. He initially had been a doubter. He believed what sadly some believe today. The virgin birth did not happen, Jesus was conceived naturally. Some people have a very small God. The God of Christmas is Supernatural, Almighty, Powerful and He chose to come into this world the virgin birth way. God endures the Josephs for He loves them.
God endures all these characters and more. He carries them within the Christmas story for His love for the world.
Okay so who are you? Which character are you?
Whoever you are, God endures you. He carries you. For He loves you.