Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23

Genesis 46:1-47:31; Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19

I was buying gifts for two of my grandchildren’s birthdays when the clerk asked how many grandchildren I had. When I replied, “Eighteen,” she answered with a huge smile, “I’ve never heard of that before!”

I paused when she asked me her question because the response I get to that familiar question is not always as positive and cheerful as hers was. Many people say, “How do you keep them all straight?” I usually reply that it’s easy because I care about each one of them.

Some people are politely horrified at our large numbers. Big families are not the norm in the USA.

But big families were the norm in the Bible, or at least, they were the desired norm. Larger tribes were better because then there were more people to be connected to, more people to care for you and more people to watch out for the general welfare of the community.

The Bible makes much of individuals and of genealogy lists. We may read this and wonder, how can we keep all this straight? But it is there for a reason—so that we may know the history of the nation of Israel, and so we may know the human lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of Jacob’s descendants are listed as he leaves the land which of Canaan, and I like that! We are told exactly who made the journey. And we learn just how old Jacob is when he arrives and when he dies. He lives in Egypt for 17 years and enjoys the presence of all his sons, especially Joseph.

Being a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is important in the Bible. But what are we to make of the Canaanite woman living in the region of Tyre and Sidon? Her daughter was suffering terribly from demon-possession and yet when she asks Jesus for mercy, he says that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (Mt. 15:24). Jesus seems to exclude her on the basis of lineage. What is that about?

Jesus had come to bring blessing to the Israelites first. But when He sees the faith and trust of this woman, He answers her prayer.

Every individual matters in God’s kingdom. He cared about the Canaanite woman’s demon-possessed daughter in Matthew 15:28. And he cares about each of us. He cares about each of my 18 beautiful grandchildren—he knows each name and birth weight. He knows how many hairs are on their heads. He does not have the least bit of trouble keeping track of each of the 18! He wants each of the 18 (and us) to follow him, so that our “path is like the first gleam of the dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Prov. 4:18).

- Nell Sunukjian

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1 comment:

  1. Love that description of "polite horror," Mom. So often, all too true. And, yet, what a comfort to know that we never get lost in God's shuffle. He has no overlooked children. Hooray!