Reflections From The Bible And Life

The God Who Became Man

IsraelTribes

In the biblical times. there were two things which typically went to the eldest son: The blessing and a double portion. While it was normally the right of the firstborn to receive these, there were times when the father changed it due to the son’s misbehavior.

Joseph, being the eldest son from the love of Jacob’s life, Rachel, whom he toiled and worked to earn for, for several years. Joseph, however was not his first-born son. Joseph’s older brothers were envious of Joseph and did a shameless act of selling him into slavery. Because of this sinful act, Jacob decided to give the double portion, also called the birth right, to Joseph.

The double portions were in the form of blessings on Joseph’s 2 sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as stated in Genesis 48. Jacob treated the 2 sons as his own, so in effect Joseph was blessed twice through the blessings on his sons.

Reuben, Jacob’s eldest son, lost the right to the double portion because he committed adultery. “Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel – he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright” (I Chronicles 5:1). Hence, the birthright was removed from the firstborn of Jacob’s first wife, Leah, and when to the firstborn of Jacob’s second wife, Rachel.

Simeon and Levi were notorious for their anger and cruelty. They had endangered the safety of the family when they destroyed the town of Shechem. Jacob prophesied that the tribes who would descend from them would be scattered among the other tribes. Even though the tribe of Simeon received an inheritance, it fell within the boundaries of the inheritance of Judah (Joshua 19:1). Eventually, the tribe of Simeon fades from existence. It was assimilated into the tribe of Judah.

Judah’s name meant praise and he became the object of praise among his brethren. He would be the leader of Jacob’s family and his descendants would lead the nation of Israel. Starting with David, all the kings of Israel came from the tribe of Judah. Their rule would continue until Shiloh comes. The word “Shiloh” means “unto him the peoples shall gather” — a reference to the Messiah. In Revelation 5:5, Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. It was from Judah that peace would come (Micah 5:2-5). Jacob also prophesies that the tribe of Judah would become prosperous. Eventually the descendants of Israel are known as Jews, which is a derivation of the name of Judah.

If we recalled back in Genesis 37:26. It was also Judah who saved Joseph by preventing the brothers from killing Joseph, but instead he suggested to sell him into slavery.

Judah’s tribe was blessed as the first 3 brothers have failed, and Jacob has predicted this. All the kings came from the lineage of Judah and so did Jesus. Judah was blessed in that sense.

Among the many kings that Israel had among the lineage of Judah, there was one king by the name of Ahaz. During his time, King Rezin of Aram (present-day Syria) and King Pekah son of Remaliah, who was the king of Israel, joined forces to strike Jerusalem which is part of the kingdom of Judah, which Ahaz was in charge of. In Isaiah 7, Ahaz was shown to be scared of the turn of events, but Isaiah, as instructed by God, told Ahaz not to be afraid and to trust in God.

God spoke to Ahaz asking him to ask God for a sign, However, Ahaz wasn’t sure God was the one speaking to him, saying he will not put the Lord to the test. Isaiah then said:
“Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.’”

Isaiah predicted not only his triumph over the 2 kings and their kingdoms, but he also predicted the coming of the messiah who will come from his own line of descendants. In Isaiah 7:14, it says, “herefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” “Immanuel” means God With Us. Matthew 1:22 quotes Isaiah’s prediction saying everything predicted by him came through. This baby was named “Jesus” meaning Yahweh Saves. In the biblical times, in order for one to be saved from sin, there had to be blood-shedding of a pure creature. Moses and others used to sacrifice lambs and other animals on a regular basis, in atonement for the people’s sins. But Jesus was the ultimate Sacrifice, the ultimate Lamb, that once he was sacrificed, it was no longer necessary to sacrifice anything else.

GOD with us.
I would like to emphasize on the word GOD.

Christmas marks the coming of the deity of Christ. Jesus is GOD. Jesus is God in Human form. Many people will protest to this statement but Jesus Himself mentioned in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 1:1 clearly states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Here, Jesus is revealing the second entity in the Holy Trinity of God, God the Son. Another proof that he is God is He repeatedly mentioned, “Your sins are forgiven,” to many people whom he has healed. Only God has the power to forgive others.When you sin against someone, you also sin against God. Only God has the power to forgive your sin against Him.

God WITH us.
Just like in Moses’ time where God dwelt among His people through His Shekinah glory within the the tabernacle, a covenant made by God and Israel, God kept His promise to dwell among the Israelites with His presence even after Jesus rose to heaven, through His Holy Spirit. This is the third entity in the Holy Trinity of God – God the Holy Spirit.

God with US.
God made Himself vulnerable as a baby and dwelt among us. He was one of us. John 1:14 states, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” God tabernacled with us through the person of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament. God kept Himself at a distance. Even though He shown His presence through His Shekinah glory, the people couldn’t approach Him. In the person of Jesus, people were allowed to interact and mingle with Him.

If Moses lived to see Jesus, his personal wish to see God in all his Heavenly glory would have been answered. He only saw God’s back, probably his heel, He and the people during his time were not as fortunate as the people during the time of Jesus and nowadays, with the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.

God has kept His promises to the people in the bible even beyond their human life. God kept His promise to Jacob, whom he called Israel, and is up to now fulfilling it, as well as His promises to Abraham. Jesus extended God’s promises to everyone who believes in Him, not just the Israelites.

God may not have answered Moses’s personal request to see Him in all His heavenly glory, but He did answer this prayer eventually for everyone to benefit from it, not just one person. God answers prayers in his own time.

Our relationship with God has existed long before we were born. God loved us so much and saw how impossible it was for us to keep ourselves holy so we could be with him, We could sacrifice all the lambs in this world and still end up unholy to God, and that’s why God had to do something. John 3:16 states, ” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Jesus, being God the Son, is the ultimate sacrifice, and the much needed sacrifice so we may be made pure by His blood. Becasue of the sacrifice of Jesus, we can now commune with God, as long as we believe in Jesus Christ, and meaning of His great sacrifice for us. As long as we believe in our salvation by Jesus Christ’s great sacrifice, we are saved.
This is the main reason why God became man.

We should thank God for doing the impossible for us and for giving us the gift of salvation through His grace.

I thank you Jesus for Your great sacrifice on the cross for us. I trust in You, Your will, Your knowledge and your timing for my life. Your presence is all I need everyday. Let me depend on You and only You alone.

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