The Mystery of History
History matters. Your history matters.
You are who you are, to some significant degree, because of who your parents were, who your grandparents were, and so on. Inevitably, you and I are products of our lineages—and as a result, we are living proof of God’s providence, which has brought us to this place in this moment.
As Ruth gave birth to Obed, Naomi’s grandson, she could not have known what the narrator tells the reader: Obed would be the grandfather of the great King David—and, therefore, he would be the ancestor of Jesus. But God knew, of course; and so here we see God’s redemptive plan at work. Ruth and her family were neither held in the grip of blind forces nor swept along on a sea of chance. The birth of Obed was yet another reminder that God cares, God rules, and God provides, and that He is always at work behind the scenes of human choices and the twists and turns of life, working out His purposes.
This is the mystery of all of history: that God has stitched together all of the elements of our past, separate and distinct as they are, to nudge and guide us to who and where we are right now. Before our infant hearts could ever conceive what was happening, God was graciously, mercifully providing for us—in mothers who fed us, in family friends who looked after us, or in grandparents who came around us.
Since you were conceived, God has guarded and guided you, through even the darkest days. You and I are not random collections of molecules. We are divine creations, and God is caring for each of us. Not only that but we are divinely redeemed. From the very beginning, God has worked through individuals and families, putting together a people that are His very own. From Genesis all the way to Revelation, we get glimpses of this redemptive, eternal purpose. The very engrafting of Ruth, a Moabitess, into this redeemed family testifies of God’s sovereign, comprehensive mercy, in which He used her unlikely marriage to Boaz to produce the lineage for King David and Christ Jesus.
Examples like that of Ruth should strengthen our faith in what God can do. They should embolden us to say to our friends and neighbors that the glories and tragedies that happen in our nation, the joys and sorrows in our own lives, and the pains and disappointments of family life find their ultimate meaning not in human history or personal biography but as a part of God’s plan. He has made Himself known as loving and holy, personal and infinite, Creator and Redeemer, Sustainer and Ruler. He has brought us into the great story of redemption—the only story that will last eternally.
This is good news! This is food for our souls when days get dark and doubts get real. This is assurance that God will never quit on us. This brings meaning to life.
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
1The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,1 4and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,2 8and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,3 and Amos the father of Josiah, 11and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,4 and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
17So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
The Birth of Jesus Christ
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