Monday, 2 March 2015

Matthew 1: New Beginnings

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new study in the Word of God! Today we are starting in the book of Matthew. I'm really looking forward to all the treasures we will find in this book, I hope you are too! We also have a new verse to memorize this week - Psalm 3:5 (see above). You know how sometimes we can't sleep because we are worried or anxious about something? Be like the Psalmist and ask the Lord to take your burden and give you sleep and rest; He will help you. Ask Him to let your thoughts dwell upon Him and His goodness, rather than on the problem you're concerned with. And as well as this, we also have a new bookmark with all the readings for the month of March. Just colour in the cute hearts with your favourite pens when you've read the chapter! [Right click on the bookmark and copy it, then paste it into a word document and re-size it as you want and print].

Once again, Daphne McKee has very kindly agreed to a 'guest spot' and here she is with her thoughts on this first chapter. (Thanks Daphne! ☺)

We see from the very beginning of this book that Matthew was proving that Jesus was the Son of David (Old Testament prophecies 2 Sam 7:16 and Isa 9:2-7 had foretold that the Messiah would be a descendent of King David).  Also Matthew was showing that Jesus was the son of Abraham (God had promised Abraham a Son who would be the greatest blessing of the world). Abraham may have thought this would have been Issac but we can see that 42 generations and about 2,000 years later that God kept His promise.

So we can be encouraged that God does keep His promises - we may not always see the answer but we can be assured that it will happen - so keep praying for those loved ones who are still not saved and don’t give up.

We have a long list of names - some of which we recognise immediately and others we don’t
but what is remarkable is that 4 women are mentioned – Tamar was a Canaanite, Rahab was from Jericho (thought to be an Amorite), Ruth was a Moabitess and Bathsheba was probably a Hittite. 

This shows us that God included Gentiles and women in His redemption plan. Some of these ladies had dubious reputations but isn’t it amazing that God can and does use people from all backgrounds - we are all born in sin and Romans 3 v 10 tells us ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’.  We all need to accept God’s gift of salvation.

This also shows us that it doesn’t matter what our background is - we shouldn’t worry about so called ‘skeletons in the cupboard’; God shows that He can and does turn lives around. 

The chapter moves on to Joseph and how he dealt with the news that Mary was with child.  I’m sure he was devastated but we are told that Joseph was a ‘just man’ and even though he could have publicly shamed Mary he didn’t want to - we see in verse 20 that ‘he thought on these things’ - he wasn’t making a rash decision, and notice that while he was thinking God spoke to him in a dream - Joseph clearly knew it was an angel sent from God because we read that Joseph did as the angel told him and took Mary to be his wife.  

What an example for us - he was given bad news, he thought on what he should do, he knew the will of God and then he immediately obeyed God.

How can we apply this to our lives?  When we are given bad news, we can pray, God can and does speak to us - through His word the Bible or as Hebrews 1 v 14 tell us God sends ‘ministering spirits’, but we need to listen and then obey. 

I decided to read up about angels and I found that angel means ‘messenger’. We also read in Psalm 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  We probably will never know how many times God has sent an ‘angel’ to watch over us to keep us safe!!

God told Joseph to ‘fear not’ - I just love the ‘fear not’s’ in the bible - when we are saved and a child of God we can trust God and ‘fear not’ when things get hard.  I often think of Isa 41 v 10 when I’m worried  ‘Fear thou not, for I am with thee... I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee....’

Verse 23 and the angel tells Joseph to call the child Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’.

Image result for emmanuel godWe have just finished Exodus and on Friday we saw how excited the people were that God’s glory settled over the tabernacle but now God had sent His Son to dwell among His people.  How precious is this name ‘Emmanuel’ - we shouldn’t just celebrate this at Christmas but our hearts should rejoice everyday that God sent His Son to this earth to die in our place.

Daphne x

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