Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Feb 25 2020 - Acts 7:30-50 – God who sees and hears and comes down to rescue

In revealing himself to us God accommodates himself to our understanding, describing his actions in homely, human (anthropomorphic) terms.

Stephen describes how God appeared to Moses at the burning bush and said that he had seen the oppression of his people in Egypt and had heard their groaning and had now come down to set them free. What a wonderfully dramatic picture. But it’s more than a picture, it is a reality borne out by the events that follow. God is with Moses, enabling him to perform signs in Egypt. Indeed, it is God himself who, through the plagues, has come to do battle with Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt. God has come to rescue his people and to bring them into freedom. He comes to bring them to himself, enabling them to live with him and before him. The Living God is with them, leading them out in a pillar of cloud and of fire, through the waters of the Red/Reed Sea, on to Sinai, through the desert and ultimately into the Promised Land. He has come to “tabernacle” among them.

Such descriptions of God are more than figures of speech. Anthropomorphic language is more than accommodation to our limited understanding. God has ultimately revealed himself to us in the man, Jesus Christ. God has seen and heard and has come down to rescue. Jesus is not God dressed up in human form but God incarnate – Immanuel, God with us. In Jesus, God has entered into our world, into our situation, to rescue us and set us free. The person of Jesus, the cross, the resurrection and empty tomb are together the single act at the centre of history that provides shape and meaning to all of history.

Looking at our world in all its injustice, confusion and pain we often cry in exasperation, “Why doesn’t God do something? Why does he not come and sort things out? Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down...” At such times we need to remember that God does see the plight of our world; he does hear its cry, and God has come down to set the captives free. Nor is he now absent. God is at work in the world through the Spirit and in the power of the risen Saviour to transform hearts, lives and communities. We just need eyes to see it, for it is, in one sense, a hidden work – the seed that grows by itself. We need also the courage to act as an answer to our own cries, to be active agents in God’s transforming work through the power and presence of the risen Saviour. God is pleased to see and hear and come alongside hurting people through us.

Nor should we forget that a day will come when God will again rend the heavens and come down. The God who has seen and heard and who came down to our rescue in the person of Jesus shall come again to transform all things. The kingdom of this world shall become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ and he will reign for ever and ever.

Living God, we thank you that you heard the cry of your damaged world and came down to heal and to save in the Lord Jesus. We long for that day when he will come again and make all things new – when pain and alienation shall be no more and all hurts are healed. Help us now to bear witness to Christ as we work towards the mending of a broken world. Help us to hear the cries of those around us and to be ready to come to their aid.

Peter Misselbrook