Read: Matthew 1
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren. (Matthew 1:1-2, KJV)
Back in the day when I was growing up, you had two choices in Bible versions: The King James or the King James. And the King James used the word “begat” when listing the genealogies of the Bible, as is the case in this chapter. To read through these seemingly unending lists of mostly boring and meaningless names in the genealogical records took real commitment. Matthew 1 is a case in point: “Judah begat Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez begat Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram…” and so forth.
Perhaps you were tempted to skip over this chapter today, or maybe just to just read through these names a little faster than normal. That’s what we tend to do with genealogies—the “begats”. If we read them at all, we just breeze through them. They’re to be endured, not enjoyed; tolerated, not celebrated. That’s understandable. The names are hard to pronounce. We don’t have any historical context for most of these people. Reading these names is akin of reading from the phone book.
Yet we believe the inspired Word of God, inerrant in all it affirms, the only authoritative and infallible rule of faith and conduct. That means every chapter, every verse and every line is God’s perfect Word for us—even the genealogies. They are not here by mistake; they are not here just as filler. They are here by God’s design for our benefit. So, in a sense, these genealogies are truly “Designer genes”.
If you have ever researched your genealogy by looking up your family tree, you know that what you are looking at is the historical thumbprint that provides context to the ongoing story of your life. That’s why God spent valuable ink in His Word passing these genealogies to us. And this genealogy in Matthew is important because these names not only remind us how Jesus got here. They tell us the story of who God is. And since God is our Father, the stories behind these names reveal the “Designer genes” that make us, spiritually speaking, who we are.
This particular genealogy tells a wonderful story—a very important story that you and I really need to know: It tells the story that God is the God of promise.
The very first line in Matthew 1:1 says, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The birth of Jesus was the result of a Divine promise made thousands of years before his birth. The God of the Bible is a God who makes promises—and is faithful to keep them—every one! The Bible contains about 7,000 promises, and two of them stand head and shoulders above the rest: The Abrahamic and the Davidic covenants. Abraham and David are two significant Old Testament characters. God made promises to them in response to their faithfulness.
To David, God made the promise of an everlasting throne I Chronicles 17:11-14, “When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom…I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son…I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.”
But God not only promised David an enduring throne, he promised Abraham a universal seed. God told Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 that through his genealogy the whole world would be blessed. That didn’t happen for Abraham through Isaac, or Jacob, or Judah. It didn’t even happen for David through Solomon. The enduring throne and the universal blessing were revealed and fulfilled hundreds of years later through Jesus Christ.
The point is that in this genealogy, we see that God always keeps his promises. They may be so slow in coming, but they are never late. God’s promises may seem delayed, but they are never denied. And every time you read this genealogy, or any Bible genealogy for that matter, you are seeing how the God of history, in his sovereign timing, fulfills what he has promised.
And the God who made 7,000 promises in his Word, many of them direct promises to you, will fulfill them all in his sovereign time! It doesn’t matter when he fulfills them or how…it only matters that he will.
And he will, because he’s the God who fulfills!
“God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises…leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
What If God Took Over?
If there are over 7,000 promises that God has made to his people in the Bible, shouldn’t you be claiming one or two of them for yourself? Look up a couple of promises in God’s Word, memorize them and pray them back to God every day this week.