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  1. Discover The Book Ministries- Bathsheba and the God of the Second Chance
  2. Dealing With Differences in the Genealogies of Christ

Then Joseph brought them closer to his father. May my name be named in them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac.

Discover The Book Ministries- Bathsheba and the God of the Second Chance

May they grow into a multitude on the earth. Put your right hand on his head. He too will become a nation and he too will become great. In spite of this, his younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will become a multitude of nations. Joseph was perturbed that his father was seemingly confused about which of his sons was the oldest, and thus the one to be given preeminence.

He knew exactly what he was doing, and in reversing his hands he was, I believe, giving testimony to the fact that God sovereignly chooses elects one above another. It is His doing, because He is a sovereign God. The genealogy of Matthew testifies to divine election. The genealogy of verses demonstrates the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew shows that our Lord is the descendant of Abraham and of David, and thus the fulfillment of the covenants God made with each.

Having proved the humanity of Jesus and the right human pedigree , he must now disclose the divine origin of the Messiah. The Messiah was not only human; He must also be divine — God with us. Verses describe the process by which Mary became pregnant, not by Joseph, but by the Holy Spirit:. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. He took his wife, 25 but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus emphasis mine.

Time does not allow for a full exposition of these marvelously rich verses, but I do want to make a few observations. But why would Matthew feel it necessary to draw our attention to Matthew? For one thing, it is through Matthew that the legal line passes from David to Jesus. I fear that we may fail to grasp the important role that Joseph played in the early life of our Lord. While we cannot be dogmatic about this, it seems to be generally accepted that Mary was quite young when she had Jesus — probably a teenager.

It is usually thought that Joseph was somewhat older it seems that he must have died before Jesus began His public ministry. I believe that Joseph was righteous when he purposed to divorce Mary privately, rather than to seek the full penalty of the law. Last month Governor George Ryan of Illinois pardoned four men on death row, and he commuted the death sentence of many others to a life sentence. He did this because a careful investigation had proven the innocence of some, and called into question the guilty verdict pronounced upon others.

Joseph must have known Mary well; he knew her character, her purity, and her honesty. She had to have told Joseph that she was not guilty of sexual immorality, and no doubt she reported the words of the angel, and the response of Elizabeth. In his righteousness, he chose not to seek the death penalty of the law. Putting Mary away privately allowed for time to pass, so that perhaps the truth of her testimony could be confirmed.

Yes it is, but I would remind you that Matthew has been careful to inform us that Joseph was a righteous man. It would take a righteous man to marry this young woman even though she was already pregnant, knowing that everyone would wrongly conclude that he was the father. He knew that people would conclude that he and Mary had sinned. It took a calm and stable man to deal with the traumatic circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus having to travel to Bethlehem, having no place to stay.

Joseph was able and willing to pull up stakes, leave Israel, and take his family to safety in Egypt. He acted with wisdom, and he obeyed the guidance God gave him through a sequence of several dreams.

Dealing With Differences in the Genealogies of Christ

What a gracious provision of God Joseph was to Mary, to assure and comfort her, to share her secret, and to protect her and her baby! Second, notice how careful Matthew is to clearly declare the virginal conception of our Lord. In verses , Matthew demonstrated the human origins of our Lord, as well as His genealogical relationship to Abraham and David.

Now, Matthew makes it clear that Jesus is not only human, He is also divine. The deity of our Lord is also declared by the angel. Mary became pregnant, the angel insisted, not by any human agency, but by the Holy Spirit verses We are clearly but delicately informed that there was no way that Joseph could have been the father of Jesus. Third, in these verses, Matthew describes the person and work of our Lord by the two names He is given in this passage. In the genealogy of verses , Matthew links Jesus with two major Old Testament personalities: Now, in verses , Matthew describes the person and work of our Lord by means of two of the names He was given: The names of our Lord depict His character and His work.

He alone was qualified to accomplish salvation because He was both God and man. His death on the cross of Calvary was not for His sins, but for ours. Every time we celebrate communion, we worship Jesus as our Savior, as the One who saved us from our sins. Time does not permit us to consider this prophecy in detail. It is likely that Isaiah did not understand his words here to refer to the Messiah who was to come in the future see 1 Peter 1: As with other Old Testament texts that Matthew cites, there is a veiled, future reference to the work of the Messiah, which goes beyond the immediate, literal, meaning of the text.

This veiled meaning was not usually made known until after its fulfillment in Christ, and that by the Holy Spirit. John says this beautifully:. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. The only one, himself God, who is in the presence of the Father, has made God known John 1: Consider how different it was for the Old Testament saint. And you will come up, and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people force their way through to come up to the Lord, lest he break through against them.

They convinced Aaron to make a golden calf, and then they began to worship it. God threatened to wipe out the Israelites and to start a whole new nation through Moses. When Moses interceded for the people, God consented to send an angel to lead the Israelites into the land, but indicated that He would not go along with them. God did consent to go with His people. God would dwell in the midst of His people in the holiest place in the tabernacle. Men could not approach God without a sacrifice, and then with very clear boundaries. How different it was after the incarnation of our Lord:.

We come to church, assured that He is present with us. We do not have to offer animal sacrifices. We do not have to keep our distance. And while God is with us when we meet as a church, He is always dwelling within us by His Spirit. He is with us always, even to the end of this age. The One who saved us is the One who abides with us. He promised that He will never forsake us:.

What can man do to me? We do not have to fear coming too close to our Lord, as the Old Testament saints did, and rightly so. In Christ, we have access to God, whom we may approach boldly:. He who came to save men from their sins promises to dwell with us and in us. How does this happen? We must confess our sins and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. We must trust in Him as our righteousness. It is then that He will save us and dwell with us and in us. Is He your Savior? Does He dwell with you and in you? That is what He came to do. I pray that you will come to know Him as your Savior and constant companion.

For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In this way what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet was fulfilled: He sent men to kill all the children in Bethlehem and nearby from the age of two and under, according to the time he had learned from the wise men. After being warned in a dream, he went to the regions of Galilee.

Then what had been spoken by the prophets was fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. Several years ago I was conducting a funeral for an older woman who we will call Sarah who grew up in Oklahoma. Before they met and married, both her mother and her father took part in the great land rush in Oklahoma. In those days, some there was still hostility between some Native Americans and the new settlers.

In those days at the end of the 19th century, people still traveled by wagon. As I recall, this adventure lasted nearly a year. Can you imagine setting out for Colorado in a covered wagon, with hostile Indians, and a long, dangerous journey ahead? It would seem that this journey took the better part of a year, one way. These adventurous men left home and family and braved the dangers of travel, which surely included robbers.

These were apparently wealthy men, and they must have looked the part, as they formed a caravan. They certainly had items that would be of interest to robbers: They were following a mysterious star, and they would have to enter territory ruled by Herod, a very powerful and violent man. This is not the only incredible journey, for Matthew 2 also includes a brief account of the journey Joseph, Mary and the Holy Child took from Bethlehem to Egypt. There was no time for advanced planning and preparation.

They hurriedly packed up what few possessions they had and fled from Herod, who sought to kill the Christ Child. And then, of course, came the return trip. It is the account of these two incredible journeys which takes up the greater portion of Matthew 2. The problem most of us face is that these accounts are so familiar to us we hardly stop to think about them.

Nevertheless, there is much here worthy of our careful attention. Not only does he fail to embellish his account by stretching the truth, he even refuses to dramatize his account by including all that is true. Tradition, and the apocryphal gospels written many years later, tell many absurd and fanciful things about the flight of the family and their entrance into Egypt.

The flowers were said to spring up in their steps as they entered the land; the palm trees to bow down in homage, and wild animals to come near in friendly approach. We would certainly like to have been given more information about the Magi. Precisely where did they come from? What did they believe? How long was the journey, and what became of them later on?

We would like to know how many babies Herod slaughtered, and we would very much enjoy reading a more graphic account of his death. How interesting it would be to read more of the time Jesus and His parents spent in Egypt!

Matthew, like the other Gospel writers,[23] was very selective in what he chose to include in his Gospel. We all know that Matthew cites the Old Testament more than any other Gospel writer. We should realize, however, that Matthew did not exhaust his Old Testament sources. Matthew did not quote every available Old Testament passage.

Some of the passages Matthew cites are perplexing, to say the least. This would be his reference to Micah 5: No one would have considered these texts to be prophecy. Note these passages, for example:. Come now, and I will advise you as to what this people will do to your people in the future. He will crush the skulls of Moab, and the heads of all the sons of Sheth.

For your light arrives! The splendor of the Lord shines on you! They all gather and come to you—your sons come from far away and your daughters are escorted by guardians. For the riches of distant lands will belong to you and the wealth of nations will come to you. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and [frank]incense and praising the Lord.

They will be offered as acceptable sacrifices on my altar, and I will bestow honor on my majestic temple. Even though I struck you down in my anger, I will restore my favor and have compassion on you. May they offer him gold from Sheba! May they continually pray for him! May they pronounce blessings on him all day long! May its fruit trees flourish like the forests of Lebanon! May its crops be as abundant as the grass of the earth! May his dynasty last as long as the sun remains in the sky! May they use his name when they formulate their blessings! May all nations consider him to be favored by God!

Matthew has not selected or ignored Old Testament texts at random; he has carefully chosen each text for a specific purpose. For now, we will move on to consider the three main personalities in Matthew 2. Herod is deeply troubled by this news, but conceals his feelings. Then Herod sends the magi on their way to Bethlehem with the stipulation that they return and tell him exactly where the baby can be found. In my mind, this sequence of events does not square with what Matthew has actually told us. Based solely on what Matthew does tell us, here is the way I understand the sequence of events that took place in Jerusalem:.

This gathering did not, in my opinion, include the magi. The religious elite inform Herod that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, citing as proof the prophecy of Micah 5: Are these two accounts all that different? Perhaps not, but it does not hurt to be precise. Observing this revised sequence of events has forced me to revise some statements that I have made in the next portion of this lesson.

Matthew does not tell us how many of them arrived in Jerusalem, and he does not make any great effort to describe them. At the root of the ancient study of the stars was the conviction that the microcosm of humanity is in a magnetic-symbiotic relationship with the macrocosm of the heavenly bodies.

The two disciplines, now rightly separated, were combined in the same persons in the ancient world. To begin with, they were Gentiles. In and of itself, this is nearly enough to condemn them. We find them, for example, in the Book of Daniel:. The king issued an order to summon the magicians, conjurers , sorcerers, and Chaldeans in order to explain his dreams to him.

All these folks were unable to tell king Nebuchadnezzar his dream. Consider the way the Old Testament prophets speak of the heathen who seek to discern divine guidance by pagan means:. For the king of Babylon stands at the fork of the road—at the head of the two routes—to use divination; he shakes the arrows, he consults the teraphim, he inspects the liver Ezekiel You are tired out from listening to so much advice.

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Let them take their stand— the ones who see omens in the sky, who gaze at the stars, who make monthly predictions— let them rescue you from the disaster that is coming upon you! Things do not get better in the New Testament. We find Simon the magician in Acts 8: The magi would not have been looked upon with favor or respect. They would have been disdained as heathen idolaters. You should remember that Matthew himself was a tax collector, and one could hardly get any lower than that.

And he got up and followed him. I believe that Matthew celebrates the fact that these Gentiles were divinely called to worship the Christ Child. We should remember the way this Gospel of Matthew ends:. But why would God choose to reveal the coming of the Christ Child through this means, through the stars? Let us not forget that God has chosen to reveal Himself to men through nature:. In the sky he has pitched a tent for the sun Psalm So people are without excuse Romans 1: I am inclined to understand the leading of the star in a similar manner.

I see these magi as men like Balaam. Both were pagans, it would seem, but they were given divine revelation. There are many who are intent on finding some human explanation for it. I must confess that I do not find these explanations satisfactory or sufficient. First of all, if this were a known and predictable phenomenon, then why would the magi follow it? It would not have been that unusual at all. And how could it possibly lead the magi to the very house where Jesus and His parents were living? Secondly, why is it so important to find a human explanation for a miracle, other than to avoid the fact that it was a miracle?

God may very well use natural means to accomplish His purposes, but He does not always do so. Sometimes God uses extraordinary measures, measures that have no counterpart in nature, so that the supernatural hand of God is undeniable. The gifts of the magi — gold, frankincense, and myrrh — were certainly very expensive items.

I am of the opinion, along with others, that God provided these gifts to finance the sojourn of our Lord and His parents in Egypt. Some have sought to further spiritualize these gifts:. Bruner spiritualizes here, suggesting that everyone who comes to Jesus in saving faith leaves, walking in another way.

It should be obvious, however, that this involved considerable risk for the magi. The magi remind me of Abraham. It may well be that Abraham and the magi came from the same area. Neither knew exactly where they were going when they left their homeland. Both obeyed God though the magi did so more promptly and saw the Savior see John 8: Both, incidentally, were instructed by the stars:.

I am your shield and the one who will reward you in great abundance. At the beginning of this lesson, I made some observations about the sequence of events in Jerusalem. I noted that Matthew gives no indication that the magi went first to Herod. If they knew anything about Herod, they would probably have made every effort to keep their distance from him.

I am grateful to Bruner for pointing out a most interesting fact about the way Matthew refers to Herod. For immediately after their worship, Herod is symbolically dethroned and is never again called king. When word finally reached Herod that the magi were asking where the newborn King could be found, he quickly called for the Old Testament experts in the law. Surely they would know of any prophecies revealing the birthplace of the Messiah. And so they did. They pointed out Micah 5: He was not even a full-blooded Jew. The fear of the majority of those in Jerusalem is also easily explained.

If Herod is uneasy about his throne, then no one close to him would be safe, including his family:. He slaughtered the last remnants of the Hasmonean dynasty. He executed more than half the Sanhedrin. He killed three hundred court officers out of hand. He executed his own wife, Mariamne, her mother Alexandra, his sons Antipater, Aristobulus and Alexander. Finally, as he lay dying, he arranged for all the notable men of Jerusalem to be assembled in the hippodrome and killed the moment his own death was announced.

A man of ruthless cruelty and with a fanatical neurosis about any competition, it is quite in character that he should order the execution of the male children in Bethlehem. But why were the religious clergy of Jerusalem — the chief priests and experts in the law — alarmed? There were other Old Testament prophecies which may well have been known to them — texts related to the coming of Messiah — which were far from comforting:. They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep.

But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done.

I, the Lord, affirm it. I will bring them back to their homeland. They will greatly increase in number. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. I, the Lord, promise it. He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding and will do what is just and right in the land. This is the name he will go by: We will certainly have more to say about the death of the innocent infants in our next lesson, but for the moment, suffice it to say that Herod was a cruel and calculating killer. This execution was premeditated murder of the worst kind.

From the time he sought to learn when the star first appeared, Herod must have had this slaughter of the innocent in his mind. He instructs the magi to return to Jerusalem, so that he might know where the child is, so that he can worship Him. Perhaps worst of all, he appears to leave himself a margin for error. If it were not for the certainty of the resurrection of the wicked to eternal punishment, death for this man would seem unjust.

We happily leave Herod behind, and close this lesson by focusing on the Lord Jesus. Who better to dominate our thoughts in this chapter, or any other?

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The first thing Matthew has told us about this Child is that He is human. We see this from the genealogy of 1: In addition to this, Jesus is divine. He is, as His name indicates, God with us. How could this child be both human and divine? By means of His virginal conception. Four times in chapter 2, Matthew claims Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. We will talk about this in greater detail in our next lesson. First, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This seems like such a trivial point, but let us not lose its significance, not only in Matthew, but in the other Gospels.

Matthew tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem 2: Investigate carefully and you will see that no prophet comes from Galilee! In this way, Jesus fulfills all the prophecies concerning His geographical associations. The baby does not, as in the apocryphal Gospels and even in the Koran, speak precocious wisdom or do miracles from the crib. He is a baby. No halos are in evidence, no great glory. And reverence is given exclusively to the child … , not Mary. This Holy Child needed parents to feed and clothe Him and to protect Him from the clutches of Herod, who was intent on killing Him.

He had to be carried off to Egypt and then brought back to Israel. It was Joseph to whom God spoke by dreams and who acted to save this child from His enemies. And yet in the midst of events which underscore His humanity, there are other events which indicate that He is much more than just human. His birth is proclaimed through the miraculous appearance and guidance of a star. Wealthy Gentiles come from afar to worship Him, offering Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh 2: This Child, for all His humanity and weakness, was the living God.

Who would have thought that God would have sent the Savior into the world as a tiny, helpless Child? Third, Jesus was despised and rejected by men, particularly His fellow Jews. He came to a town called Nazareth and lived there. This seems to indicate a general rather than a specific Old Testament reference. Matthew is probably not citing a specific Old Testament text but instead is referring only to a general teaching of Scripture.

Boice then shows that nowhere in the Old Testament do we find a prophecy which states that Jesus shall be called a Nazarene. How then can this problem be solved? In my mind, Boice provides us with the best explanation:. What Matthew seems to be saying is that the prophets predicted the Messiah would be a despised person, the victim of slurs such as this. For theological reasons I like to consider the … possibility, and it is no more than a possibility, that for Matthew a person from Nazareth, a Nazorean, was considered a nobody and that this, too, is what prophets had often predicted the Christ would at first be considered and become for us.

I find the explanations of Boice and Bruner most satisfying and most consistent with the prophecies that do pertain to the Messiah. Thus we find a number of prophecies which speak of a despised Savior:. Fourth, Jesus is the New Israel. In chapter 1, Matthew linked our Lord with Abraham and David 1: In chapter 2, Matthew establishes some broader connections.

Bathsheba and the God of the Second Chance

First, we see Jesus somewhat subtly linked with Moses. Matthew also links Jesus with the nation Israel. This fulfilled prophecy catches us all off guard, does it not? Israel left the land of Canaan and sojourned in Egypt for around years. At the end of this time, God sent Moses to deliver His people and to lead them back into the Promised Land compare Genesis Because of their sins, no Israelite was righteous enough to become the source of blessing for the nations. Jesus is the perfect Israelite, the perfect replacement for the nation. Israel as a nation was a stubborn and rebellious people.

Even their finest leaders like Moses and David and Solomon were sinners. He is the source of every spiritual blessing. Jesus goes from the promised land in Israel to the classic land of escape, Egypt, just as all the patriarchs from Abraham to Joseph had done in the beginning. By means of his itinerary, Matthew is saying: Jesus fulfills the accepted scriptural requirements for messiahship: Matthew chapter 1 shows this in the persons from whom Jesus descended Abraham and David ; Matthew chapter 2 shows this in the places Jesus touches Bethlehem, Egypt, Israel ….

In the singular career of the New Israel who is Jesus, Israel finally does everything predicted of her in Scripture. Israel comes through in one Israelite. First, Jesus is the great divider of men. The contrast is clearly evident in Matthew 2. On the one side, there are the magi, who came from afar and at great sacrifice to find and to worship the King of the Jews.

On the other side are Herod, the religious clergy, and the people of Jerusalem. Herod, at the extreme, seeks to kill the baby Jesus. The others merely appear to ignore Him. As you have considered this chapter, my friend, you have been confronted by a choice: Will you receive Jesus as the promised Savior, or will you reject Him? There is no middle ground. There never has been. Second, this chapter reminds us that possessing scriptural knowledge about Jesus is not enough. One must act upon the knowledge they have in order to be saved. The Gentile magi did not have as much knowledge about Jesus as the religious clergy in Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, they acted on the knowledge they had. They found the Christ Child and worshipped Him. They found salvation; by and large, the people of Jerusalem did not. Having heard these words about Jesus, have you acted on them? Knowledge is not enough. Third, these early chapters in Matthew serve to prepare us for all that will follow in the later chapters of this book. Everything Jesus says and does later in this Gospel leads us to the same conclusion. In His birth, Jesus was rejected by some and believed in by others.

Nothing will change as time passes. Jesus was rejected by His own people John 1: Fourth, Matthew should revolutionize our reading of the Old Testament. Matthew sees Jesus in the Old Testament where we would never have expected to see Him. This is because Jesus is, in many ways, the new Israel. He can see Jesus in the exodus from Egypt Hosea He sees Jesus where we do not. Perhaps this tells us that we should look more carefully for Jesus in the Old Testament, and expect to see Him more often.

We should not be surprised when we read this from the pen of the Apostle Paul:. Let us look for Jesus when we read the Old Testament. He is there much more often than we might think. Why does a Jewish author, writing primarily to a Jewish audience, write of Gentiles as he does in chapter 1 and 2? It is because an essential part of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that God has provided salvation and blessing for people of every nation, and not just for Israel.

The Abrahamic Covenant was the promise of blessing for both Israel and the nations. This is why Jesus quickly made the Gentile factor clear in Luke 4: Also, the Jews must own up to their rebellion and rejection of Jesus. Sin reigns in the sphere of death, which refers both to physical and finally to spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God in the lake of fire Rev. At first, sin always puts on a positive look: Why not give it a try?

It did not bring Eve what Satan promised. It led her and the entire human race into death. Her oldest son murdered his brother out of jealousy. Sin is always ugly and leads to death. Remember that the next time you are tempted! But thankfully there is some very good news:. Godet Commentary on Romans [Kregel], p. With the next customer, the master showed the rookie how to display the gem on a background of black velvet to bring out the beauty and luster of the diamond.

Note three things here:. Grace is not withheld because of sin. He points out that we do not usually operate this way. If someone wrongs or offends us, we withdraw from that person and do not treat him graciously. But God is not like this. Sinners crucified His Son who came to save them. It does not deserve to hear the gospel. His point was that Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners. Paul does not just say that in contrast to sin reigning in death, now grace reigns in life.

As sinners who have been declared righteous, we are not made perfectly righteous in actual conduct until we see Jesus and become like Him 1 John 1: So our sins do not cut us off from God because His super-abundant grace reigns through the righteous standing that we have before Him through Christ.

He did not possess eternal life before the fall. He did not have permanent, perfect righteousness credited to his account. This should give us solid assurance of salvation. He puts it this way:. Any amount of time short of eternity would be inadequate for a finite creature to experience the glory of God. It will take forever for us to see all there is to see and admire all there is to admire and enjoy all there is to enjoy of the glory of God. Therefore God ordains that there be eternal life for us. All blessings come to us as believers through Jesus Christ our Lord, who graciously came to this earth and bore the penalty that we deserved on the cross.

Since we deserve nothing from God except judgment, this is pure grace. All spiritual blessings are to be found in Christ Eph. Do you have Him? If so, His super-abundant undeserved favor will keep flowing and flowing to you unto eternal life! Their virtue is unimpaired, their heat undiminished, their volume unabated. They explain the origin, account for the progress, and demand the gratitude of the City of Bath. Is it necessary to experience deep conviction of sin before coming to saving faith?

A Healthy Transition Deuteronomy Book Review -- Love as a Way of Life. Book Review -- Sacred Marriage. Then Paul sets forth some of the blessings of being justified by faith in Christ Then 5: But the day is coming when the usurper will be put down and Christ will return to rule. In His absence, the fact that we have received His grace should cause us to live apart from the things of this world. It must grieve our Lord when those upon whom He has poured out His grace live for worldly pleasures as if the King were not returning.

Or, David may have been testing Mephibosheth, even as King Solomon later tested the two women claiming the same baby. Many years ago, Shah Abbis reigned in Persia. He deeply loved his people. To understand them and their needs, he would mingle with them in various disguises. One day he went as a poor man to the public baths where he sat with the common man who tended the furnace. He talked with him and shared his common food. In the weeks that followed he returned often, so that the man grew to love him as a dear friend. Then one day the Shah revealed his true identity. The Shah waited, expecting the poor man to ask for some expensive gift.

But the man just sat there, gazing in awe. On others you may bestow great riches; but to me you have given a much greater gift--yourself. Please, your majesty, never withdraw the priceless gift of your friendship. Are you after God for His gifts or for the joy of knowing God Himself? The King himself is our delight.

In , California police staged an intensive search for a stolen car and its driver. They even placed announcements on radio stations in their attempt to contact the thief. On the front seat of the car sat a box of crackers that, unknown to the thief, were laced with poison. The car owner had intended to use them as rat killer. But now the police and car owner were more interested in apprehending the thief to save his life than to recover the car.

But God is after you so that He can show you His grace and kindness. His Son, Jesus Christ, bore the penalty for your sins. If you do not receive His grace now, you will face His judgment in the future. But today is the day of salvation. Perhaps you have trusted Christ as Savior, but you have forgotten His grace. You have been trying to earn His favor instead of realizing that His grace has provided all. Perhaps you have forgotten His grace and have drifted into the world. His grace is seeking you, to bring you back to His presence and to keep you for His return.

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Lewis put it, I never had the experience of looking for God. Notice three things about where God found us, as illustrated in this story: We were fallen in sin. We were far from God. We were fearful of God. Grace brings acceptance in the Beloved. Grace brings blessings beyond all measure. Grace brings communion with the King and His children.