2019 Advent Devotional – Day 6


Matthew 1:7-11 – Ancestors of Jesus from the Davidic monarchy

And Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

Steadfast - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

This long and dry list of names, as unrecognizable as they are unpronounceable, represents the middle section of Matthew’s genealogy. The grouping covers the kings of the Davidic royal line, from David’s son Solomon until the end of their lineage. The entire period can be viewed as a time of upheaval and violence. The kings were consumed by political infighting and inter-tribal warfare, neglecting God and supporting the worship of idols.

One exception to this pattern was Hezekiah, who is remembered for his reforming efforts to restore the faithful worship of God, as well as his constancy in serving God and following God’s law throughout his reign. Hezekiah’s devoutness however did not exempt him from difficulties in his life, and his reign was threatened by the invasion of Judah by the king of Assyria. The Assyrian king attempted to undermine Hezekiah and instigate mutiny among the people, promising to spare them and provide them with peace and prosperity. 

Hezekiah’s response was to turn to God in prayer. In the face of an imposing and terrorizing army, and fierce incitements to lead the population astray, Hezekiah resolutely turns to God. His prayer is one of praise and gratitude, as well as an appeal that God will—through victory—negate the false claims of the Assyrian king. 

The parallels to our own lives, thousands of years later, are striking. Society today promises life, prosperity and fulfilment, through the service of the gods of wealth and status, fame and power. We are constantly besieged by secular values and tempted to turn astray. Can we, like Hezekiah, stand firm in our faith and worship only God? Can we fill our prayers with praise and gratitude for all God is and has done, and ask that through our lives God may be glorified?

* See 2 Kings 18-20 and 2 Chronicles 29-32 for the full account of Hezekiah

Everlasting God,
Too easily and too often, I am beguiled and bewitched by the promises of the world, tempting me with indulgence and gratification, offering satisfaction and contentment. Help me to remember the hollowness of these promises, and the way in which they leave me feeling empty and starved of meaning. Remind me that true meaning is found in your word and contentment is based in your love. Inspire me to let your love and glory shine through my life. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2020.

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