Monday, January 23, 2012

120123 - Genesis 38-39 - Where's the family resemblance?

Monday SOAP: Jesus's lineage had celebrated heroes of the faith, but also the occasional, rather embarrassing character. The story in Genesis 38 opens the closet on one of those skeletons, showing the weakness of all flesh (1 Peter 1:24) and the sovereignty of God, as well as the mercy and care with which the mission of the Incarnation was planned. What a hopeful message it brings!
(Why "SOAP?" See

S: And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. (Ge 38:26).

O: This chapter contains one of those stories you skip over when you read to your children. But from this sordid tale comes a the kingly line of Judah, which will eventually produce the virgin Mary (Luke 3:24, 33) and Joseph (Matthew 1:3, 16). How is it that this scandal made it into the Bible? How could God have allowed such messed-up people to be the forefathers of Christ's human nature?

A: Jesus' human nature was a thoroughly human nature, tied to faithful men and women like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rahab, Boaz and Ruth, and David. But also scoundrels like Judah and Rehoboam. Manasseh and Jeconiah are even in Joseph's line - but of course the literal, biological one (Mary's, in Luke) goes from David to Nathan instead and does not include them. All of this helps us have assurance that your heritage does not define you in God's eyes. Did I have godly men and women in my family tree? Or scoundrels? Or a little bit of both? God acknowledged the complete family line of Christ, yet "He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth."(1 Peter 2:22) The Christian, or Christ-like, life, is the new creation life, forgetting those things which are behind, and pressing forth to those thigns which are before, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

P: Lord, I love my family, and I appreciate all that you've brought me through. But I thank you that my family's achievements don't have to be my high-water mark, and that our failures aren't predictive of my future. You truly have experienced all of this yourself, and lived a life without sin, dying and rising again for me to bring me power to live the new life and experience your glory. Thank you so much for your complete work of incarnation.


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