I’ve decided to take a trip through the book of Matthew. At some points on the journey I’ll slow down and really take a close look at the territory and other times, like today, I’ll just hit the high points and keep moving.
Today I want to share the 4 principles I saw in chapters 1 and 2.
Chapter 1 is mainly the genealogy of Jesus and a little background on the situation surrounding his conception and birth.
Chapter 2 covers the first few years of his life, which covered a lot of miles–literally.
Here are the principles that made an impression on me.
1. No matter what the current politics or the local culture, God has and always will value females as much as he does males. This is evident in the genealogy in chapter 1. Several women are listed–something that normally wouldn’t have happened.
2. Jesus is “God with us.” Near the end of chapter 1, it mentions one of the names that Jesus would be called–Immanuel. The meaning of this name is “God with us” and it’s one of my favorites. It doesn’t make sense that “God put skin on and moved into the neighborhood” — which is one way I’ve heard it described. But He did. And He did it because He loves us and wants to be with us . . . FOREVER. And He was willing to do whatever it took for that to be possible.
3. God uses dreams to speak to and guide people. He used dreams several times in these two chapters. Earlier this year at my church, we had a missionary couple who serve in the Middle East come and speak. They serve in a very dangerous area of the world and do some very brave things when God asks them to. They shared some unbelievable stories of Muslims who have been converted because Jesus appeared to them in their dreams and they became curious enough to talk to these missionaries or to ask for a Bible. If you don’t already, you may want to pay close attention to your dreams and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what they mean.
4. Sometimes the path we have to take to follow God is not a straight one. Look at all the travel Joseph had to lead his young family on during the early years of Jesus’ life. First Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem before Jesus was born. Then they had to flee Bethlehem and go live in Egypt for a while to keep Jesus safe. Then they came back to Judea but had to leave there and ended up in Nazareth. I think sometimes we believe that if we’re following God, everything will be simple, straightforward, and sensible. And yet often it is complicated, convoluted, and makes absolutely no sense to our logical brains. I’m so glad we have these examples in the Bible so we can know this is the normal life of a God-follower.
1. What do I need to change about the value I place on males versus females?
2. How often do I realize how close God is to me?
3. How has God used dreams to speak to me lately?
4. What does my path look like right now?