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Daily Devotion for April 7, 2016
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
This video of Allison Krauss singing Down in the River to Pray features some wonderful old photographs of rural baptisms.
Prayer for Morning
Holy Jesus I am coming and coming to you, because you are my only refuge, my only certainty, my only hope. You are the remedy for all my ills, the comfort for all my miseries, the reparation for all my faults, the supplement for all that is wanting in me, the certainty of all my questions, the infallible and unfailing, inexhaustible source for me of light, of strength, of constancy, of peace and of blessing.
I am sure that you will never leave me and you will not stop loving me, you will never tire of helping me and of protecting me, because you love me with an infinite love.
Have pity on me, Lord, according to your great mercy; and make of me, in me, and for me, all that you wish. Because I abandon myself to you with full and entire confidence that you will never abandon me.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin an act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
[There is no true hope except in the Spirit.]
And now, as a little child, let me abide in you all this day, oh Christ, so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Jesus tends to his people individually. He personally sees to our needs. We all receive Jesus’ touch. We experience his care.
~ Max Lucado
Matthew 1:6-17 (ESV)
The Divisions in Matthew’s Genealogy of Jesus
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
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.
Notes on the Scripture
umping Jehoshaphat, that's a lot of long names! As we discussed Tuesday, although this genealogy is daunting and inexplicable to a person trying to simply pick up Matthew and read it as a book, it appears at the beginning for a reason: Matthew was written for the Jews of the first century A.D., and for them to accept Jesus as the Messiah, it was critical that they accept his lineage.
In the last verse, Matthew takes pains to point out that the passage is divided into three sections of fourteen names. This does not represent some weird Kabbalistic mystery; there is no real significance to the number 14. Rather, it has two purposes. First, to make it easier to memorize(!); and second, to demonstrate the grand theme of God's plan for our salvation.
The Jews did not have books. If they were fortunate, the community would have a Torah or even a complete Old Testament in the synagogue; and most of them could not read, anyway. As we showed yesterday, however, a person's ability to prove his heritage — and if possible, his descent from Abraham — was critical to his acceptance as a Jew. To this end, a great many Jews would memorize their genealogy. Dividing a long list of names into memorable groups is a mnemonic device.
If you try to name, say, the books of the Bible, you are going to have a much easier time with it by dividing it into sections. For example, using the Protestant Bible: Pentateuch (5), histories (12), books of wisdom (5), major prophets (5), etc. So, Matthew makes Jesus' generations easier to remember by pointing out that there are three groups of 14 names: Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian captivity, and the Babylonian captivity to the present..
But the division corresponds to another of Matthew's primary themes: Jesus as the Messiah predicted by the prophets. The groupings actually correspond roughly to the three historical stages of salvation.
The first group represents the first stage in God's plan to save man from his sin, the giving of the law and bringing the Hebrews into greatness through it. David's reign was the realization of the promise to Abraham: a great Hebrew nation, devoted to God, ruling over Canaan.
The second group — Solomon through the Babylonian deportation — represent the loss of Hebrew greatness through the inability to follow God's law. As Israel fell away from God and into the worship of false gods, it eventually lost God's protection; and although it was Babylon rather than Egypt, they were returned to the slavery from which God had saved them. It represents, in short, the futility of righteousness by works.
The third group represents the return to God's grace, for it ends in salvation with the birth of Christ. But unlike the first group, this end of the third will be both an enduring salvation and one available to the entire world, not just the Jews, for it is a salvation by grace.