Monday, September 14, 2015

The Start of a Nation

Since I posted last week about living out the Scriptures, I've started digging into the book of Matthew.  I chose Matthew because it contains a considerable amount of instruction on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

To start with, I did a little bit of research on the background of Matthew.  It is believed that it was written before 70 AD and the fall of Jerusalem and that it was written to a predominately Jewish audience.  There is a heavy emphasis on Old Testament references (including how Jesus fulfilled the prophesies of the Messiah).  There is also an emphasis on the genealogy of Christ (chapter 1).  Since Matthew was making the case that Jesus was the Messiah the Jews were looking for, he had to show that Jesus had a claim to David's throne.

Matthew 1:1- The book of the genealogy of  Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Verse one echos the genealogy accounts in the book of Genesis and suggests that God was beginning the "new creation" that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians.

Genesis 5:1- This is the book of the genealogy of Adam.  In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

As I started reading verse 2, something caught my attention.

Matthew 1:2- Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,

Did you catch it too?  Both Abraham and Isaac had more than one son, but neither of them are mentioned.  Only Judah and his brothers are.  Why?  Some suggest that Ishmael, Esau and their descendants were not to be included in the covenant, but that Judah and all his brothers were (this is where the 12 tribes of Israel come from).  Considering what was written about Ishmael and Esau in Genesis, I'm inclined to believe this line of thought.

Genesis 16:11-12- Behold, you are with child, You shall bear a son.  You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction.  He shall be a wild man.  His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him.

Genesis: 39-40- Then his father Isaac answered him: Look, your dwelling place will be away from the richness of the land, away from the dew of the sky above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you rebel, you will break his yoke from your neck.

The hostility between Hagar (Ishmael) and Sarah (Isaac) was passed onto their descendants.  It can still be seen in the Middle East today.

The hostility between Jacob (Israel) and Esau (Edom)  has become the norm rather than the exception.

However, as you'll see in the next couple weeks, it wasn't God's plan to completely shut these nations out of the covenant promise.  The next few verses show how beautifully God weaves all nations into His plan.

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