Advent Journal: He Is Faithful

“Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob” (Matt. 1:2a).

I have heard many people share their dislike for genealogies in the Bible. Why are they even in there? I mean, who cares who begot who and whatnot. I too have thought these very things until God revealed something to me while reading this genealogy that begins the book of Matthew.

The second verse in the entire book of Matthew is so important. It begins the genealogy, the family line, that would bring about the Savior of the world. Not only that, but it shows God’s fulfillment to the promise he gave Abraham so long ago in Genesis. “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). This is the very fulfillment of this promise given to Abraham. And the fulfillment of this promise came against all odds. Abraham was old and his wife, Sarah, was barren. They could not have children. Not only this but twice Abraham gave his wife into the possession of another man, when if God had not intervened, the father of Isaac could have very well been in question. God was faithful to Abraham.

Circumstances can very easily destroy a family line. We’ve seen it many times in history: war, famine, or plague sweeps through and kills off an entire family line. God was faithful through all of life’s circumstance, through the mistakes made in the family. He preserved the line for Christ to come. This genealogy screams of the goodness of God. He worked through a messed up family to keep them together to bring the Savior to the world.

Not only was he faithful to Abraham, but he was faithful to all mankind by fulfilling his promise in Genesis chapter three: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). God is faithful to his word. Never once did he stray from his promise. The genealogy is a map of God’s faithfulness, showing how he preserved each person, each child, each family to create a scarlet thread woven through history to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The Christmas story starts here. It began with God’s promise the garden of Eden just after the entrance of sin. It began with his promise, and it was fulfilled through the family line of Abraham. The genealogy is so important to the Christmas story which is why it is the very beginning of the New Testament. It shows God’s goodness as he faithfully preserved the family of Abraham through forty-two generations to the coming of the Prince of Peace.

“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” (Matt. 1:17). 

The Mysteries of God

I remember as a child thinking about God. My parents told me He was eternal while the Bible said the same. I distinctly remember trying to grasp this… Before there was Earth God was. But that means God existed forever, before He created anything. If he existed for forever, then how did we ever get to today? Forever means continually, on and on and on and on… How did He exist for forever and we still got to today but He will still exist for forever after today.

This is just one of my many trains of thought as a child, but this is only one characteristic of God that is slightly beyond the human brain capacity. There is also God as the Trinity, three persons in one Being. There is the omniscience combined with the omnipotence of God. If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, how can He allow the suffering we see around the world without stopping it? There is God as omnipresent. He is literally everywhere at once. Our minds have a hard time with that one. Prayer, we often fail to understand how prayer works. What is our role in it and what is God’s? There are many, many things that we do not understand or grasp about God.

Agnosticism

I am not saying that God cannot be known. Agnosticism is the belief that God exists, but we cannot know Him. It is a middle ground between atheism and Christianity. We know many things about God because He has revealed His character through Scripture; the Bible is His self-revelation. “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17). “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20). These are just a few passages explaining the characteristics of God.

We can also learn much about God’s character through his creation. We look at the stars and see God’s incredible power and presence. We see a forest and see his creativity. We look at some of the fish of the sea and we observe God’s sense of humor. Humanity is created in His image, so we can learn much about God through what we know about people. Agnosticism is a myth and it is not what I am testifying to here in the least.

Mysteries

With this being said, there are many mysteries we still wrestle with about God. Scripture does not reveal every key detail about God.The unknown can stir up plenty of doubt in a believer’s mind. We often attempt to fit God into our circumstances rather than viewing our circumstances in light of who God is. This takes faith.

God is so infinitely beyond the human brain. Although, the brain is all that we have known in life, God is far, far beyond it. It can be easy to get caught up in human reasoning. This can get us into trouble and some strange, cultish beliefs. I have a hard time with people who have to have every question answered about God. Do I know exactly how prayer works? Well, no, but I do know that Scripture commands it of me, and Jesus modeled it for me. Often, we place our entire focus on what we do not know about something, forgetting what we do know.

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

-Deuteronomy 29:29

Sometimes, we can get too focused on what we do not know. Whatever we do not know, we must view in light of what we do know. This requires us to faithfully trust in what we know about God’s character even when our circumstance don’t seem to line up correctly. There are going to be mysteries about God that we will never understand.

Passivity is Not an Option

I am not saying that we should not explore some of these mysteries. It can be a healthy thing when we discover more about God. After all, God is the main character of the Bible; He is present in every Biblical event. We can learn something about God from every passage; the Bible is His self-revelation. We should always be growing in our knowledge of God. There are, however, a couple of things to keep in mind when we approach these mysteries.

#1. Don’t become obsessed. Don’t let your study of God’s omnipresence become the focus of your life or ministry. It is not healthy for one of the mysteries to become our primary focus. Always seek to bring it back the gospel. How does your study connect to the gospel?

#2. Stay humble. When you discuss some of these gray areas, remain humble. Who is to say that you understand every detail about how prayer works? Everybody has their opinion, let them share it and enjoy a friendly discussion. You probably are not completely right about how you view God. Always remain humble and seek to turn away from any dogmatism.

#3. Grow. The entire point from these studies is so that we can grow in our affection for God. Use these kinds of studies to implement your relationship with Him. Always go back to Scripture and view what you do not know in light of what you do know.

Mysteries as Grace

These mysteries of God are by His grace. I am so thankful that I do not know everything about God. That may sound a little odd, but let me explain.

My friend always used to say it this way, “If we knew everything about God, it’s almost like He would cease to be God?” I believe that these mysteries of God are a characteristic of Him. He is so beyond our human brain capacity, we do not even begin to comprehend what Scripture has laid out plainly about Him. We don’t truly understand how big He is. We don’t entirely understand the Trinity. We don’t completely know how prayer works. This keeps us humble and dependent upon Him.

This is not blind faith, as some would accuse. Neither is it faith through a magnifying glass, examining every minuscule detail. The truth that is revealed to us through Scripture is exactly what God wanted to be revealed. No more and no less. These mysteries are each eternal graces, they keep us dependent and humble. The mysteries of God should stimulate more faith in what we do know about God, rather than create more doubt and uncertainty. Don’t be defined by what you don’t know. Use these mysteries to press further into our love of God and what we are sure about Him. He is good, righteous, merciful, triune, all-powerful, everywhere, all-knowing, just, grace-giving, eternal, victorious, and his love endure forever.