Monday, January 2, 2017

Boring genealogies or awesome truths? How God’s epic stories teach epic lessons for you!

The New and Old Testaments begin in much the same way, as parallels… but not in the same direction.

TODAY'S READING: MATTHEW 1 -3
First of all, they are both stories about God’s love for you and I. The Scriptures are personal, the stories in it a very deep and timeless way for our Father to teach His beloved children.

In Genesis we see Adam in Eden with God, all is well. We then see Eve and Adam both eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – this is religion, a ‘way’ of being right with God that depends on human effort rather than divine grace. The fruit of this tree was fatal and death reigns now for Adam and all after him; they are forever cut off from access to the Tree of Life. And yet, a glimmer of hope… One will come to redeem.

The book of Matthew starts with that hope beginning to materialize. His name is Abraham, who is to us a spiritual father, whose children are inheritors of God’s promises. From Abraham is traced Jesus Christ – the second Adam. This so-called second Adam dies on a tree (cross) defeating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and now gives us free access to the Tree of Life and the presence of God forever.

Yet woven into this genealogy, is story within story, many times. In each of these stories hope is given and faith is born only for this faith to be tested and eroded until it is so decayed that it almost disappears. That is when the Morning Star rises! Think of Abraham who waited decades for the promised son, who waited and waited and faltered and just when he thought it was the end of the game, Isaac is born.

Or consider the story of the physical descendants of Abraham… they were a nation, delivered out of oppression. They possessed a land and there was strong hope! But then their faith was eroded little by little. At first they were unlike any nation, a confederacy of tribes ruled by God and not man. They then became a kingdom, then two kingdoms, then they were invaded, occupied and exiled, not by one empire, but two! The Ark of the Covenant – God’s presence among them symbolically which was always with them since Moses’ time – disappeared forever. During Joseph and Mary’s time Israel is no longer Israel, the land is inhabited by “Jews” who are so named because they consist of only a small portion of the Israelite’s 12 tribes (Jews meaning ‘of Judah’). The temple isn’t really a temple since it has no Ark. No more Temple, no more Ark, no more freedom. Neither God nor Hebrew king rules them, but a foreign, pagan empire, dividing into many pieces their land under the supervision of vassal governors. And then when this genealogy is on the verge of fading into obscurity, Jesus – the One who Saves the world from their sins, the Immanuel or “God with us!” finally… finally, when all faith is reduced to specks of dust; He is born!

So today you might be right there during Joseph and Mary’s time. You might be like Abraham who waited so long for a promise and years later is still wondering whether it was only in his head. Yes, coming to Jesus brings great promise for this side of eternity (nothing compared to the heavenly side). It’s a promise that makes one full of hope and faith that God has chosen us for great purposes! We seek His kingdom and what a kingdom. But when the trouble of life begins to grind our faith we tire. We are faint and weak and just then, the promise that gives rest arrives at last.

If only we would contemplate God’s ways and learn contentment. If only we could be like those ancients who waited patiently and even joyfully. Let nothing rob you of this peace and joy today. His promises, whether you understand them as you’re supposed to or not… they will be borne, and – here’s even better news - there’s nothing you can do that will stop them from becoming true!

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David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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