We are trying to answer the question … “Where did the real Christmas start?” Yesterday we dealt with the topic “Tragedy” where we saw man who was created sinless for the purpose of fellowship with God, falling into sin because he rebelled against God’s probationary commandment.
On Sunday night, the family and I drove through downtown Greer in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Apart from private homes, shops and restaurants, the City had Christmas light decorations on poles, over streets hanging on wire as well as in parks and other centers where people could take walks.
Our purpose for being there started off with a photo shoot of us as a family. A friend is a photographer and willingly offered to take a few pictures of us altogether and then mixed us up a little. Whilst doing this, a man dressed as Father Christmas came towards us, and without the photographer knowing as her back was towards him, he started doing all sorts of funny movements to get us to laugh. The whole afternoon and early evening rang with Christmas Décor everywhere.
So … “Where did the real Christmas start?” Moving on from man’s tragic descend into total depravity, we find the race’s morality decaying to the point where God decided to bring an end to the earth and all on it.
Ge 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”
Can one blame a holy God for taking this decision? But remember, in this decision God needed to protect His first Messianic Promise in Genesis 3:16. To be true to Himself and His commitment He needed to do something radical … destroy the planet as it was with everything on it and keep to His Word! Look at God’s plan … starting with:
Ge 6:8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Speeding forward, God destroyed the earth and all its inhabitants (human and animal), yet saving eight humans (Noah, his three sons and their wives) together with pairs of animals on an ark built by Noah. Many might deny the Ark as they do Genesis 1 to 11. Evangelicals believe this to be part of God’s Word as our Lord Jesus did. Adam to Noah and through Noah’s son Shem. His bloodline produced the Semitic People (Assyrians, Chaldeans, Elamites, Arameans, Moabites, Ammonites, Arabs and the Hebrews.) Adam to Noah and through Noah’s son Shem … Adam to Noah to Shem. We then meet up with the race at Babel seeking to build a Tower as a sign of human authority and supremacy. God in His wisdom stifled man’s plan, confusing his language and forcing man to separate and spread throughout the earth and per His instruction to Noah. Adam to Noah to Shem to Terah to Abraham. Above all you need to keep focus on God protecting His promise in Genesis 3:15. So now we come to “Promise”.
1) God’s promise to Abraham. He is in the bloodline of Shem for he came from the Chaldean people. He was also a pagan. The race, even though it spread far and wide through the world, returned to wickedness because of the total depravity of the race.
Ge 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Here we see God preserving the bloodline from Adam, through Noah to Shem to Abraham for the purpose of making a great nation who would eventually have their own land and through them God would bless the nations of the world.
2) God’s promise to Isaac:
Gen 26:3 For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.
Again … a people, and place and all nations being blessed.
3) God’s promise to Jacob:
Gen 28:13 “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”
Again … a people, and place and all nations being blessed. The son he loved most was sold as a slave into Egypt only to rise as Prime Minister. The other sons went there to purchase grain resulting in Jacob and his entire family migrating to Egypt where God protected them and grew them into a great nation (Israel – uncountable).
Although hardships came as they fell to slavery, it was all God’s plan. He provided Moses to lead them out of Egypt and bondage, through the desert for 40 years, teaching them valuable lessons, giving them the Law and bringing them safely into Canaan, the Land of Promise. Now they were a great nation (People), in their own land (Place) with a temple, God’s residence and under His reign (Rule).
God was protecting His promise in Genesis 3:15. It was to provide a Messiah and He would. The forefathers mentioned above were earthly Messiahs. God reigned His people in their place through His prophets who spoke His Word, applying His Law given to Moses. He also used the Levitical Priesthood with a High Priest. Then came the kings, the second one being David who was a “type” of messiah. God said:
2 Sam 7:16 “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
Solomon followed but this was pointing to Messiah who would come, redeem depraved man, creating a people (Kingdom), preparing a place (Heaven) from them to live under His reign (Rule).
Thank You Father for the Christmas story unpacked in Your Bible for us. Amen.