Matthew 1

Vs. 1, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Question: Why start out with a genealogy?  Genealogies helped prove your identity back in Jesus’ time.  Matthew’s genealogy would help solidify the Old Testament fulfillment of the true Messiah.  This genealogy had it’s constant spiritual battle as the enemy would do everything he could to stop this eventual birth of Jesus!  It’s of note that this list of generation after generation is not exhaustive, but more likely used in this way to remember more easily.  Now, we then begin the drama of our Lord’s story!  Joseph would find out that Mary was pregnant during their betrothal (vs. 18)!  What a start for this young couple!  A very confused Mary and a saddened Joseph who decided to quietly divorce her…because theough they hadn’t officially married, a betrothal was an engagement that was binding.  Matthew points out Isaiah 7:14, to help the audience whom he is writing to understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy.

 

Regarding application…God With Us.  Vs. 23, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”  Question: What does this mean for us?  While Jesus was never technically called Immanuel at His time, the very name tells us something about Jesus’ nature.  He is not only the Son of God, but He is also God.  It’s this understanding that God’s presence was not longer dictatated by a tabernacle or temple.  God came in human form through His son.  Question: What do this mean for us today?  You see, we have the luxury of knowing the New Testament story…but we should never take for granted the access we have in God!  I’ve been been reminded this past week of the Old Testament laws in Leviticus and how each one was used for the primary purpose so that God could be with His people  Now, we have this amazing system where we can find Immanuel, God with us….anytime and anywhere.  Through the promised Holy Spirit, we have access to “God with Us”.  With that in mind, it is a wonderful priviledge to know that we can turn to God today and His word will speak to us.  Have a very blessed Wednesday and keep your eyes on the Lord!

Jeremiah 50

Vs. 25, “The LORD has opened his arsenal and brought out the weapons of his wrath, for the Sovereign LORD Almighty has work to do in the land of the Babylonians.”  While Babylon was being used by God, she became too prideful and arrogant.   It was time to bring war upon Babylon.  While this would apply directly the Babylonians, there was a  dual meaning to this.  Babylon often in Scripture symbolizes the world system.  God would humble and will humble our human system of pride.  He also gives us a wonderful picture of gathering back His lost flock (vs, 6-7) and forgiving the people (19-20).

 

Regarding application…God Redeemed Us.  Vs. 34, “Yet their Redeemer is strong; the LORD Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.”  What a fitting reminder of the fact that God is our Redeemer.  Here in our passage, we see God redeeming and forgiving His people.  Yesterday, the message to the youth reminded them that they matter to God and that God redeems them!  I’m sure God’s people often felt despair, but God would remind them that He had not forgotten about them.  That His promises come true!  Keep you head up this week and find comfort in our Redeeming God!

Jeremiah 30

Vs. 24, “The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart.  In days to come you will understand this.”  “In the days to come” reminds us of this simple fact: Jeremiah was a prophet.  Much of what he shares has a reference to events that were to come.  Some believe it was the return from exile, but also many biblical scholars also adhere to this pointing to the End Times in Revelations!  Despite God’s discipline (vs. 11) upon His people, He would extend mercy and grace (vs. 17).  In a selfish way, I like how God will avenge those nations and people who have been mistreating God’s people.  We also find much hope because Jeremiah is pointing towards a leader God will raise up (vs. 9)…this would most likely point to Jesus!

 

Regarding application…God Disciplines Us.  Vs. 11, “ I am with you and will save you,’ declares the Lord.  ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you.  I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”  This is not a very popular reality about our Father in heaven.  But it is one that we must come to understanding with a Godly fear.  Positive reinforcement is a popular parenting method these days.  It’s old-fashioned to punish.  Parents who “ground” their children/teenagers are uncool.  Churches who discipline are shunned.  Even the reality of a wrathful God is not talked about in many churches.  Many people can’t reconcile that a loving God would punish and discipline.  Brothers & sisters…just because God punishes doesn’t diminish how amazing God’s love if for us!

Hebrews 12

Vs. 2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Question: Why do we fix our eyes on Jesus?  Because, He endured the cross…endured the shame…and Jesus is now victorious!  It’s almost as if the author is speaking directly to us….there is so much passion in the exhortations!  When we are tempted to give up…what a wonderful passage to turn to for inspiration!  Be ready to be shaken out of your reverie (Vs. 26)…God is shaking things up!  None of us like things shaken up…we like stability, we like security…but God would indeed shake up Israel.  They would lose their city, their temple…many of their lives.

Regarding application…God Disciplines Us.  Vs. 11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  Suffering is not punishment.  God allows suffering and often disciplines us through suffering….Why?  So that we may produce good fruit!  Punishment is the work of a judge…disipline is the work of a loving parent to their child.  Punishment is to uphold the law…discipline is a proof of God’s love.  Rather than rebel from God in suffering, we should draw ever closer for His comfort.

Question: Why is this happening to me?  If we respect those who discipline us in this world (Parents, Coaches, Teachers, etc.)…than we need to respect God and stop complaining and throwing “Pity Parties” for ourselves when times get tough.  We talked last Sunday about growing up.  If Isaac rebelled against Abraham…we wouldn’t even have the preview of Abraham’s possible sacrifice.  If Jesus rebelled against God…we probably wouldn’t even be here.  As teenagers we adopt the philosophy of the world when we say it is okay to rebel…that’s what teenagers do.  Okay…while that may be true…is that what children of God do?  I think not.  Whether we are 5 years old, 15 years old, or 55 years old…we all have the tendency to want to rebel (it’s our sin nature)…but let us learn to submit to God’s love & discipline so that we can truly live a life that is honoring to God.  Don’t forget that the last verse in this chapter reminds us that God is aConsuming Fire (Vs. 29).  We need to have a Godly Fear.