Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope that you had a memorable time of worship and fellowship with God and others over this holiday! We are just a couple of days beyond Christmas so giving you a post birth scripture account to meditate upon. Maybe you are just finding time to wind down after the hustle and bustle of the season. Hoping you take a few moments to sit quietly with God and consider Simeon's joy! His joy is to be our joy as well!
Luke 2: 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the LORD's Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign LORD, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."
Verse 25 uses a phrase "the consolation of Israel". Simeon was a man who had a life mission to see it. Consolation is a calling near for comfort, solace, encouragement, refreshment. Clearly Simeon was a good man who was burdened for God to draw near His people as One who comforts. He did not want to die before seeing that promised Messiah, and God was good to share His secret with Simeon! He sent the Holy Spirit to tell Simeon that indeed he would see the promised Messiah!
It's such a tender, awe inspiring moment, which I think Ron DiCianni's artwork of "Simeon's Moment" above captures. There is inexpressible elation in his face! There are tears of joy and clearly some sound of holy praise coming from a place deep within. He held the Holy Promise in his arms! There was no doubt in Simeon. He recognized the promise as foretold by the Holy Spirit. He was led by the Holy Spirit to enter the temple at the exact right time! And Mary and Joseph were also led straight to him to perform the circumcision, cleanse Mary, and accept their offerings.
Have you ever imagined holding the Son of God in your arms? Do you have a heart response similar to Simeon? God's greatest and highest call is for us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind. Love deepens the more we realize how desperately we need God's forgiveness, the reason the holy child was sent.
Luke 7:47- Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Jesus knows the depth of your love and whether it is surface based or if you are one to unashamedly bow at his feet like the wise men did. Do you read that as a guilt message or an opportunity to more deeply experience the goodness of God? The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy, Psalm 103:8. He is right there waiting and longing for more time with you. Are you satisfied with where you are with God or do you long for more? He promises to openly reward those who go into their prayer closets and talk with Him, Matthew 6:6!
Meditate upon whether or not you are moved to emotion when you worship God. Can you connect with inexpressible joy because of God's love and sacrifice for your sins? Are you free in your time with God to unashamedly pour out your thanksgiving and marvel at His holiness? Do you have goals and longings related to experiencing God at a deeper level in the coming year?
Into the Waters will continue holding online sessions to give you an opportunity to linger in God's presence and deepen your relationship with Him. The sessions help you sit with the LORD, talk to Him, and get to know Him better. He is openly rewarding those who have been attending! A January session will be announced next week! May you join!
Until then, meditate on God as consolation, as comforter. Close your eyes; and do what Simeon did. Hold the Son of God as a newborn, born to die for you. Have you held a baby with a thought, "This child was born to die for me?" It's ludicrous to even think it, except if you are talking about Christ the Messiah. Note during your meditation that Simeon told Mary some very profound truths about who the child was, one who would pierce souls, including her own. See Luke 2:35. If any thoughts of fear or condemnation come up, remember again He is CONSOLATION (COMFORTER). Evaluate your emotional attachment to God. Review areas where you need more joy, where you need a new level of intimacy that brings freedom with God as your Comforter. Ask God to wake you up if you have no passion or desire to press in for more of God. Time is so short! May you invest now in deep fellowship with the heart of God! It is where your life can be made new by God's tender mercies every morning. Great is God's faithfulness, Lamentations 3:23!
Isaiah 9:6- For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
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Why does Matthew bother with tying the genealogy of Jesus to Joseph who was NOT the paternal seed of Jesus? Why trace back the line of Joseph’s ancestry if he was not at all responsible for the birth of Jesus? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. Something to meditate on. Will you quickly “google” it, or will you challenge yourself to meditate with the help of the Holy Spirit?
Most people would say reading through the beginning of Matthew is tedious and a bit confusing. It is one of two genealogies of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Both the book of Matthew and the book of Luke trace the beginnings of Jesus’ messianic lineage. Luke gives great detail about the birth of Jesus as a miracle in Chapter 1; as seen in the image above. And in chapter 3 Luke details an ancestry believed to be the lineage of Mary which makes sense because her DNA was in him. But Matthew takes 16 verses listing ancestral ties that link Joseph to Jesus. He starts out referencing King David and Abraham seemingly to tie covenant promises to the genealogy he is about to pen. Since Matthew’s audience was mainly Jewish, readers would have recognized he was immediately wanting to emphasize Jesus was the promised Messiah through his father.
What were some of those promises that started off with Abraham? Many Christians know that God told Abraham that ALL peoples on earth would be blessed through him, Genesis 12:3. God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, Genesis 15:5. He told him that he would not only give him an everlasting possession of a promised land; but would also give it to his descendants, Genesis 17:8. He promised Abraham that through his descendants all nations on earth will be blessed; because he obeyed God, Genesis 22:18.
Sometimes when we “know” biblical details and hear them again, they can become dull and uninspiring. We have a reaction of “Oh yeah, heard that, know that.” But, oh what we lose when we don’t let what we already “know” take us deeper! There is so much more to revelation if we press in! Don’t you want a renewed sense of awe and wonder? He’s there if you are willing!
I admit I tend to quickly skim or skip right over long lists of names in the Bible. But I didn’t in reading Matthew’s list this time. Instead I was stopped really; and was struck in verses 2 and 3 by the miracles, power, and redemptive character of God that Matthew wants to reveal to his readers. I’ve missed it before! But this time I laughed when I saw it. God was so insistent on working through the impossible!
Romans 4:17b- He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed- the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
Abraham was old, like wayyyy old. Abraham knew his fertile seed was long dried up. Even further, Hebrews 11 says that he counted himself as good as dead! Maybe that means he thought he would keel over at any time. Add Sarah his wife to the impossible equation; and we know that not only was she also old, but her womb was dead, and further still she had always been barren! Yet God insists to Abraham during a few critical times (spanning 25 years!) that he and Sarah would indeed have a child from their old, dead reproductive systems! Ha! At the time designated by God, Isaac comes through the dead loins of Abraham and the dead womb of Sarah. Isaac the promised son, the one whose name means laughter! Who says that God is boring? Laugh with him! His promises bring joy! Nothing shall be impossible with God!
And then not to be over and done with miracles that start the Messianic line, God pairs Isaac with Rebekah, who is also barren.
Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.- Genesis 25:21
Divine promises, children from barren wombs, answered prayer. This is the lineage of our Savior!
So far in verse 2 we have Abraham and Sarah miraculously birthing Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah miraculously birthing Jacob. Who’s next? It’s Judah and he did not come about as a miracle. He came about from a wife that was unloved by her husband Jacob. The unloved one was named Leah, Genesis 29:31,35.
Choosing the one who is unloved. This is the heart of our God!
The next generation takes a wild and salacious turn! Judah has his own sons by marriage; but the Messiah doesn’t come from any of these sons by marriage. Instead the Messianic line continues through his act of sleeping with his daughter-in-law Tamar! She had deceived him into sleeping with her by dressing up as a shrine prostitute. She did this because Judah deceived her, denying her his youngest son to produce off-spring. So, if she wouldn’t be paired with the son who was left, she set her sights on daddy-o to secure her “rights”. If you aren’t familiar with the story, read Genesis chapter 38.
Choosing the ones who are calculating, scandalous, and self-preserving. This is the redemptive work of our Savior!
There would be so much more to say in the list of names presented by Matthew! More drama unfolds through Rahab, Ruth, King David and Bathsheba! But the death knell comes when a curse is placed on Jeconiah (aka Jehoiachin)! In Jeremiah 22:24-30, God declares that none of his offspring will sit on the throne of David. That is not explicitly said in Matthew. But that is where the digging into treasure comes! If you take that long list of “boring” names and trace them back to Old Testament accounts, you discover the hidden messages.
This is what the LORD says: "Record this man (see his name in verse 28) as if childless, a man
who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah."- Jeremiah 22:30
So we have to wonder what gives Matthew? Why keep going with names in the genealogy of Jesus if all hope was cut off at Jeconiah, Matthew 1:11?
And like the blog started off, why bother with it at all since this is a genealogy of Joseph who was NOT the paternal seed of Jesus? Why trace back the line of Joseph if he was not at all responsible for the birth of Jesus?
Why do you think Matthew did that? Meditate upon it. Commentaries don’t always have the full revelation. Challenge yourself to not immediately search out truth that way. Pray about it, look for the clues in scripture. Ask God to help you. The LORD gave us the Holy Spirit who he promised would teach us all things! Ask God to open your eyes to show you great and mighty things that you do not know, Jeremiah 33:3! See the hand of God in his divine plan! Experience joy as you dig for treasure with your Savior, meditating on the WORD that became flesh and dwelt here on earth among us! May His Word become flesh in you! May His Word come alive to you this season leading to an adventure with Him in 2020!
Tomorrow night 12/15 we are holding another HOPE session for this advent season. Will you stop and pray for those that will participate, that their investment in time with Jesus would return 100 fold?! May you be a part of the next session in 2020! A January session will be announced soon! May you be moved to worship the One wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger this season. May He overshadow you and produce the fullness of the Holy One through you! Blessings!
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Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"