“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1
Take a few moments to read Matthew 1:1-17, the genealogy of Jesus. Don’t worry if your tongue twists as it tries to pronounce names that may be new to you. As you read, try to remember things you have learned in the past about the men and women listed. What do you know of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Do you remember the wonderful works God did among them? Can you recall the promises God made to them? What about the other names on the list? Are there some you’ve never seen before? Others you’re surprised to see?
One might expect the genealogy of Jesus to be filled with only the faithful, but as we look closer at the family tree of Jesus, we are tempted to wonder exactly what the Lord was thinking. Here are a few high points:
Abraham lied to protect his own life, putting his wife in danger. Twice.
Jacob took advantage of his brother and lied to his father.
Judah sold his brother into slavery.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Ruth was a foreigner.
David was a murderer. He stole another man’s wife.
Solomon allowed his many wives to worship false gods.
Manasseh was an evil king whose worship of other gods went so far as the sacrifice of his own son. He even set up an idol in the very temple of the Lord.
We don’t have to go any further to know there were some family stories they probably preferred not to publish. Still, God had chosen Abraham and his descendents and had promised to bless all people through them. The promise didn’t depend on them. It depended on God. He had a plan, and nobody thwarts His plans.
You see, even the father of the Jewish faith was not perfect, and his descendents were nowhere near perfect either. That’s why they needed a Messiah in the first place, and it’s the same reason we need Christ. They didn’t choose God; God chose them. And He used them, in spite of all their faults.
You know, Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 15:16) Like Abraham, David and even the carpenter Joseph, God has chosen each of us, and He wants to use us to accomplish His purposes on earth. Do we have to be perfect? No, but like Abraham, who answered God’s call to follow, we have to be willing.
Worship: Read Romans 8:28. If there are things in your life or in your family that you doubt even God can make good, pray about those things. Remind Him of his promise to work all things for good and ask Him to show you how he wants to use even the difficult things in your life for His glory.
Family Focus: Explain to your children that through Christ, we are all descendents of Abraham. Make a family tree for Jesus that includes you and those who led you to the Lord. Be sure to include any spiritual offspring you have!
Be sure to follow along daily for more devotions. You can find them here or you can download the ebook A Christmas Call to Worship: Daily Devotions for the Month of December for a full 31 days of Christmas devotions!
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