Moses, Aaron, and Samuel

“Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel was one of those who prayed to him. They prayed to the Lord and he answered them.” (Psalm 99:6, NET)

I love to read. I especially enjoy stories with dynamic and interesting characters you can get to know through the story. By the end of The Lord of the Rings saga, you almost feel as though you are friends with Frodo and Sam, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf, and many others in the story. It’s the same with Ender from Ender’s Game, Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief, Teo and Anna from the Chiveis Trilogy, and many others. The best books develop deep characters who are realistic enough you can relate to them (even if they’re a hobbit or a wizard).

One of the things I love about reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is that it is filled with incredible stories and fascinating characters. But whereas the stories I mentioned above are fictional, the stories from the Bible are true historical events. This makes them even more interesting! When we read in Psalm 99 that Moses, Aaron, and Samuel prayed to the Lord and He answered them, we’re not reading a pleasant poem about make-believe characters in a fictional story. We’re reading about real people who called on the Lord and received an answer to their prayers. And if God could answer them, then He can answer us when we cry out to Him in prayer. This isn’t pretend, it’s for real!

Think about some of the people whose stories have impacted your faith through the years. These could be people from the pages of Scripture, like Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Paul, John, and Peter. They could be people from the archives of history, like Polycarp, Augustine, Billy Graham, or Jim Elliot. And, think about people from your own life, whether inspirational or no, whose lives have changed your relationship with God. A grandparent, a parent, a sibling, a Sunday school teacher, a pastor, a friend, or even an enemy. Chances are, even if you’re new to your faith, you can think of a handful of people from your own life’s journey who’ve impacted your faith in some way. Some we’d like to imitate, and others to learn from their mistakes, but all have changed the way we walk with God.

My prayer for this week is to thank God for the true stories that have shaped my faith and for the people He has placed in my life to guide me (even the bad examples). I also pray that I would be a good example to those around me, so that someday my kids or grandkids will remember my relationship with the Lord and talk about how much it impacted their faith.

Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

Heritage Matters

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).

The Gospel of Matthew begins with 17 verses of genealogy–lots of names that can be tedious reading.  There are many such passages in Scripture, and while we may not find them overly interesting, they are nonetheless important.  As Matthew 1:1 points out, the purpose of this family tree is to show that Jesus is directly connected to both David and Abraham.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham (then named Abram) in Genesis 12, that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  And, Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7, that David’s descendant would reign as King forever.

By charting out Jesus’s family tree and showing his readers that Jesus is directly descended from both Abraham and David, Matthew shows us that Jesus is in fact qualified to fulfill both these promises.  Then, starting in verse 18, Matthew shows us that not only is Jesus the son of Abraham and the son of David but that he is also the Son of God.

As I read these verses, I was prompted to ask myself, “Where did you come from?  What is your background?  Never forget your heritage, no matter how far you go.”  I believe that our pasts, whether good or bad, can be used for good in God’s greater plan.  None of us were accidents, although some of us were surprises :-), we each were carefully planned by the Creator himself!  Where we’ve come from shapes who we are and is all part of God’s sovereign plan.

My prayer for us this week is that we will find the time to take a moment and consider our heritage.  Where have we come from, and where are we going?  What legacy do we want to leave as a heritage for our kids and grandkids?  May the Lord lead you to use your past to bless another this week.