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In God's Time

Matthew 1:17
Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. (NIVUK)

There are some questions to which only God has the answer. The list of the human ancestors of Jesus Christ spanned about 2000 years from Abraham, and we do not know why it was so long (or might have been longer or shorter). Interestingly there were 14 generations in about 1000 years from Abraham to David, giving an average generational age of just over 70 years; but 14 generations in about 500 years from David to the exile and another 500 years to the birth of Jesus Christ (giving an average generation span of about 35 years).

We do know that after David, God's law became distorted and ignored, and family feuds added to the instability of the nation's leadership. The fifth commandment, along with all the others, was broken: "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12) The privilege of longevity was curtailed. And without God at the centre of life, it is numbingly meaningless. And after the exile too: instead of responding to God in faith and obedience, they soon went their own way; and for 400 years there was silence from God - He sent no prophet to them after Malachi until John the Baptist.

It is a mistake to equate long life and prosperity with God's favour, and evil-doers often seem to prosper (Psalm 73:3-12). However God will always reward His faithful ones (Isaiah 61:8), but He chooses His time and often waits a long time to bless us. He chose the time for Jesus to be born (Galatians 4:4) even though it was 42 generations since His first promise to Abraham. And He also knows the time when Jesus will return (Matthew 24:36). So far, His time delay has been about the same as that from Abraham to Jesus (about 2000 years); and we do not know how much longer. But we do know that He is coming and so we need to be ready to welcome Him when He comes again. Is your lifestyle one which commends the gospel to others; can they see that you are living each day with the expectation that He might come at any moment (Matthew 24:42)?

God of time and space. Thank You for always knowing just the right moment to release Your wise actions upon the world. Forgive me for sometimes thinking that You will forget to take action in time; and also forget that Jesus is coming back and it could be any day in my lifetime. Please help me to trust You to get all the timings right on earth and to live my life in the light of eternity. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams