Advent: December 3
"Come and behold Him, born the king of angels.”
"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. . . .
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations."
–Matthew 1:1–2, 17
The first chapter in the New Testament paints the picture of a long family tree. This is like ancestry.com but for Jesus Christ and before the internet/newborn King hit earth.
In these familial roots, we find Abraham mentioned again and again. If anyone had experience with waiting, it was him. Abraham had waited and waited and waited on offspring. And he really wasn’t getting any younger.
Elderly and childless, Abraham boldly and obediently followed God into the promised land of Canaan. Here, God told Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars and would have this land forever.
However, Abraham and his barren wife, Sarah, kept on waiting and waiting for a child. At the ripe age of 86, he even took this promise into his own hands, taking advantage of and impregnating his servant to start this long-awaited family line. Not *exactly* a picture of patience.
Despite these obvious sins and hurtful failings, God didn't abandon His covenant with Abraham. He actually reaffirmed it. God called Abraham into obedience and even changed his name (originally Abram): "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations" (Genesis 17:5). Those two extra letters were to remind Abraham that God would fulfill His promise. If God wants to give me two extra letters, I will take Dr. or M.D. or J.D.
Time goes on, and there is still no baby. But then . . .
“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
It is so unexpected of God to fulfill this promise that Sarah laughs. Isaac’s name even means “he laughs.” But God is faithful, and Abraham and Sarah’s long-awaited son, Isaac, is born. Oh and then years later, God tells Abraham to take Isaac to be sacrificed.
Can you even imagine? Waiting so long for something, gratefully receiving it, enjoying the gift, and then being asked to give it away? I'm kind of flashing back to getting my new phone taken up the day after Christmas in middle school for having a bad attitude.
Abraham, however, fully trusted God at this point. He knew that God would be faithful to provide, to bring a sacrifice in the place of his long-awaited son. After all, he had firsthand experience of God fulfilling His promises. Abraham told Isaac, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering" (Genesis 22:8).
God sure did provide a sacrifice in Isaac's place, a ram that would instead take Isaac's fate of death. After God spared Isaac, an angel told Abraham:
"By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."
True to His word and worthy of trust, God fulfilled His covenant to Abraham. Out of Abraham's genealogical line came another long-awaited Son. He had been waited on for years and years, and He too had a miraculous birth, a birth that never could have occurred without the hand of God. His Father also did not withhold Him, sacrificing Him as a substitution for our sins. And through this Son of God, through Jesus, the world would truly be blessed.
Out of the three mentions of Abraham in this genealogy of Jesus, what we find are further reminders of God's faithfulness. He was faithful to Abraham and Sarah. He was faithful to Isaac. And He's still faithful to us today.
He is faithful today even though there is no ring on your hand or sonogram on your fridge. He is faithful although your credit card balance is high and your depths are low. He is faithful even though the prognosis is bleak and the opportunities feel slim. He is faithful to the sick and the rich and the healthy and the poor and the hurting and the rejoicing and the yearning.
God is faithful and only faithful. Though your circumstances change, He does not. From Abraham to Sarah to Isaac to your own story are pictures of a God who fulfills His promises.
We wait here on earth, but we wait knowing with a fixed hope that God's long-awaited Son is coming again to make all things new.
All because God is faithful to His promises.