Hope Alive

“Moses spoke this way to the children of Israel, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and cruel bondage” (Ex. 6:9).

The children of Israel have endured in slavery for generations since the death of Joseph. The Lord raises up a redeemer, Moses, at the appointed time to fulfill his promise to Abraham, and rather than the redeemer immediately delivering the children of Israel – the darkness of slavery grows even darker.

At the conclusion of Exodus chapter 5 Moses begs the Lord to reveal why he has brought such misery upon the children of Israel when he promises deliverance. The Lord says, “Now see what I do to Pharaoh.”

Still, the children of Israel do not receive the words of encouragement given by Moses in Exodus 6:9, they do not listen because they are “short of spirit,” רוּחַ מִקֹּצֶר, literally, “shortness or anguish of breath.”

It is, at the point of their greatest exhaustion that the Lord begins to move mightily. CS Lewis once wrote, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

Just when it seems that the Lord is about to unleash fury on Egypt in order to fulfill his promise to Abraham, and to deliver his people, there is a parenthesis in the narrative, an insertion that does not advance the dialog, it’s just a dry genealogy. Why would the Lord include a genealogy in Exodus 6:14-26? The genealogy is there for a purpose, not only to record family histories, but also to establish a link to an earlier promise.

The Lord recorded for future generations the genealogy of Moses and Aaron, establishing a legal, ancestral link to the promises of spoken of Israel. They will lead a people in the hope of God’s Word.

Matthew opens his gospel account with the genealogy of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus in 1:1-6. Genealogies are often overlooked when it comes to source material for preaching an inspiring sermon. However, this genealogy, and many others, are included for very important reasons concerning inheritance, legitimacy, and covenant connection. The genealogies in Scripture preserved the history and the story of the family line of Messiah; as not only must the Messiah’s lineage be traced to David, it must also lead to Abraham.

However, there are lessons important for us, as His disciples, apart from the historical and covenant meanings of the genealogies. Remember, the genealogies are the record of real people. They had struggles, imperfections, and real sin in their lives that affects how they, and those around them, lived.

In Genesis, we read that Abraham had a child with Sarah’s maidservant Hagar, attempting to help the Lord fulfill His promise.

Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, seemed to be in constant struggle with Esau his brother, swindling him, fleeing from him, but ultimately reconciling with him.

Judah, the son of Jacob, bore twin sons with Tamar, his daughter in law, whom he had mistaken as a prostitute, bringing her into the messianic line.

Rehab, who hid the Israelite spies in Jericho, was a prostitute, but she would ultimately become the great-grandmother of King David.

David, וּנְעִים זְמִרוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵֽל, “the sweet singer of Israel” (II Sam. 23:1), as recorded in the Psalms, had Uriah killed in battle to cover up the adulterous affair, and resulting pregnancy, he had with Uriah’s wife.

Dear reader, these are real accounts of real lives. The Bible did not whitewash them, or make them more socially acceptable. It just recorded who they were, all, incidentally, ancestors of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus. Each one under the law of sin. Some were outside of God’s covenant community: gentiles. Yet, forgiveness and reconciliation took their sin and renewed it for God’s purpose, and His glory.

People often struggle with the idea that they cannot be used by God because of their past. These boring genealogies say otherwise.

Contrary to what we believe, they say the Lord can take a prostitute and make her the grandmother of King David. They say He can take David and make him the grandfather of the Savior.

What we discover as we read through Messiah’s genealogy is the evidence that hope was kept alive for 2,000 years by the Lord, until hope arrived in the flesh.

Friends, you, with your past, your present and your future are helping to keep hope alive until he returns. Tamar had to act the prostitute, Rehab was the prostitute, David was the murdering adulterer, and the list could go on.

Redemptive history is the record of the covenant Lord using imperfect people for his perfect plan until Yeshua returns. You never know how your words of wisdom, reflecting on a renewed past, will be the source of hope for someone who only sees a hopeless end (Ro. 8:28-29).

Give those seeking this hope for tomorrow, to the horizon and again, and let them see the power of redemption in the face of the pharaohs of this world. How will He demonstrate this hope? You. Moses and Aaron led because they were part of the family. In Him, you are part of the family as well, and will help lead others out of their darkness, into His marvelous light.

Be well. Shalom.

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