The Nation (Ex 12)
- Some 400 years later, the people of Israel are slaves in Egypt, and God miraculously delivers them, with the greatest show of power the world had ever seen (Ex 12.33-36). He promises to give them a permanent homeland, one that’s fertile and beautiful and peaceful. He makes a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai, and they promise—unanimously—to do everything He tells them (Ex 19.8).
- Now the people are a nation. So He tells them to take the land, and they get scared and quit (Num 14.1-4). That’s discouraging.
- They wander in the wilderness for 40 years, eating food and drinking water that God miraculously provides. Their clothing and shoes don’t wear out (Dt 29.5). But all they do is complain (Nu 11.1). Even their leader, Moses, fails so badly that God won’t let him enter the Promised Land (Dt 32.48-52).
- But the nation does enter it. They live in houses they didn’t have to build, and they eat from gardens they didn’t have to plant (Dt 6.11). God has taken them another major step toward the killing of the snake.
The Royal Line (2Sa 7)
- God chooses a shepherd boy to lead this nation. And He promises that David’s royal son will reign forever.
- But David’s son Solomon, despite receiving unequaled wisdom from God, breaks God’s Law (Dt 17.17) by marrying multiple foreign wives, and by the end of his life he’s worshiping their false gods (1K 11.4). And his son, Rehoboam, splits the kingdom.
- From that day, the Northern kings are unremittingly evil, and most of the Southern kings, offspring of David, are evil too.
- But every so often, there’s a good one. One of them, Hezekiah, gets sick one day, and God tells him to get his affairs in order, because he’s going to die. Hezekiah begs, and God gives him another 15 years (2K 20.1-7).
- And when he dies, his son, Manasseh, becomes king, at the age of—12 (2K 21.1). And he is the worst king of Israel to that point. But God is still working His plan.
- Several generations later Jehoiachin is king. He is so evil that God curses him: no offspring of Jehoiachin will ever sit on the throne of his father David (Je 22.24-30). The messianic line is cursed.
- And Judah goes captive to Babylon, and that’s the end of it (2Ch 36.15-21).
Or so it seems.
The Seed (Mt 1)
- About 6 centuries later, a carpenter from Nazareth is the heir to the throne. But he can never be king, since he’s under the curse. He meets a godly young woman and eventually makes the arrangements with her father, and they are engaged.
- One horrible day he discovers that this woman that he had thought was so godly, who he thought loved him, is with child. She has apparently been with another man.
- As he sleeps one night, he sees an angel, and he learns the truth (Mt 1.20). Mary has not been unfaithful; her child is the Son of God. And Joseph is to adopt this Child.
- This will ruin Joseph’s reputation. But he decides to trust God and obey the angel.
- And in that simple act, God uses him to enable the rescue of you and me from our sin. As Mary’s son through Nathan, Jesus has no legal claim to the throne of David, which comes through Solomon. But as Joseph’s adopted son, He is the only rightful heir, and He is unaffected by the curse on Jehoiachin.
- And 30 years later, He crushes—crushes—the serpent’s head.
- And then He builds His church. He gathers disciples, fills them with His Spirit, and sends them to the ends of the earth (Ac 1.8). He finds a proud but hateful Pharisee, a mass murderer in the very name of God, and revolutionizes him to be an apostle to the Gentiles (Ac 9.15-16). Paul and his partner Barnabas begin the daunting task of taking the message to all nations (Ac 13.1-3).
- And after just one trip, Paul and Barnabas, who is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet (Ac 4.36), have such a disagreement that they decide to go their separate ways (Ac 15.39). And now there are two teams spreading the gospel, instead of one.
This God? He’s bigger than giants, bigger than kings and their armies, bigger than all the forces of nature, bigger even than sin and failure and frustration and distraction. Big enough to use the sin He hates to accomplish His will, whether in twelve angry brothers or an adulterous shepherd boy or a much-married wise man or even the death of His Son.
He’s bigger than anything.