Wednesday, September 25, 2013

3 ways to read the genealogies in the Bible

What do the genealogies reveal about God? They tell us that He is a faithful Lord, who keeps His covenant from one generation to another. Whoever we are and however far we may have descended from the source of our human life in Adam, we are still part of God’s plan. Over the centuries we have developed differently, we have lost contact with one another, and we have even turned on each other in hostility, but in spite of all that, we are still related and interconnected in ways that go beyond our immediate understanding or experience.

Secondly, what do the genealogies say about us? They say that from the world’s point of view, most of us are nobodies. We live and die in a long chain of humanity, but there is not much that anyone will remember about us as individuals. Yet without us, future generations will not be born and the legacy of the past will not be preserved. We are part of a great cloud of witnesses, a long chain of faithful people who have lived for God in the place where he put them. Even if we know little about our ancestors, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for their loyalty and perseverance, when they had little or nothing to gain from it or to show for it.

Finally, what do the genealogies say about God’s dealings with us? They tell us that we are called to be obedient and to keep the faith we have inherited, passing it on undiminished to the next generation. They remind us that there is a purpose in our calling that goes beyond ourselves. Even if we are not celebrated by future generations and leave little for posterity to remember us by, we shall nevertheless have made an indispensable contribution to the purpose of God in history. So the genealogies bring us a message from God, even if they appear on the surface to be barren and unprofitable. All we have to do is ask the right questions, and their meaning will be quickly opened to us.

Gerald Bray, God is Love : A Biblical and Systematic Theology, Crossway, 2012, pg. 59

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why had Isaac not been sacrificed?

This famous incident was also about something that Abraham could not see, or at least could not see very well in his time. Why had Isaac not been sacrificed? The sins of Abraham and his family were still there. How could a holy and just God overlook them? Well, a substitute was offered, a ram. But was it the ram’s blood that took away the debt of the firstborn? No.
Many years later, in those same mountains, another firstborn Son was stretched out on the wood to die. But there on Mount Calvary, when the beloved Son of God cried out “My God, My God- why hast Thou forsaken Me?” there was no voice from heaven announcing deliverance. Instead, God the Father paid the price in silence. Why? The true substitute for Abraham’s son was God’s only Son, Jesus, who died to bear our punishment. “For Christ died for sin once for all, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Paul understood the true meaning of Isaac’s story when he deliberately applied its language to Jesus: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all - how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, Dutton, 2009, pg. 17