All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
Matthew 1:17, NLT*
“All those listed above” are the ancestors of Jesus. Matthew opens his account of the birth of the Messiah with a genealogy. A strange devotional verse? Perhaps, but it’s the one that touched my spirit for this week.
Did you notice the pattern? Fourteen generations each time. If the priests and scribes had been aware of it and had been counting, they’d have known the timing of God’s next big step.
But God prefers to work in surprising ways, ways we look back on and see clearly even though we didn’t anticipate them.
The same with the “where” of Jesus’ birth: One prophecy said Bethlehem, but another said He’d be called out of Egypt. Clues to keep the faithful anticipating, yet not to reveal the full picture.
If we had sight, we wouldn’t need faith. Which is why I don’t take this verse as a challenge to comb Scripture and piece together a timeline for Jesus’ return. He clearly said that was a secret.
Instead, what this verse says to me is that God has a plan. He knows the various details and intricate inter-weavings that will bring it all together in His perfect time. We know His character, His power and authority.
We can trust Him to look after all that, and we can be about the daily elements of our Father’s business, loving our families, caring for our neighbours and co-workers, conducting ourselves as Christ-followers in a very confused world.
God who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, help us to trust You. Please keep us from discouragement when we don’t see Your plans unfolding, and keep us equally from trying to “hurry” or “help” You. Keep us from fear when we look at the world around us. Reassure us of Your perfect wisdom, power, and timing. Help us to live each day in confidence in You.
This week’s song is one I’ve loved and found comfort in from way back in my university days: Sheila Walsh’s “In Your Way.”
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.