Saturday, January 11, 2014

God—an Author who planned His story

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 2:13-23

TO CHEW ON: "…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet … then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet … that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets…" Matthew 2:15,17, 23

In fiction writing there are at least two kinds of writers—pantsers (those who make up the plot of their story as they go along, i.e. write by the seat of their pants) and outliners (those who plan their entire story before they start writing). God, in writing His story—the story of redemption—was not a pantser! The way Jesus fulfilled Prophecies made hundreds of years earlier shows how well-planned this story was—and is.

One of the preoccupations of Matthew in writing his gospel was to show how Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. "Matthew's aim is to present Jesus, not only as the Messiah but as the Son of David and to elaborate this truth in such a way that it would aid the Christians in their controversies with the Jews. He shows how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy, and how the Law is filled with new meaning and supplemented in the Person, words and work of Christ" says J. Lyle Story in his Introduction to Matthew, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1287.

In our reading today, Matthew forsakes all subtlety as he says three times, in effect, this segment of Jesus' life was a fulfillment of a specific prediction:

  • Matthew 2:5 - "Out of Egypt I called my Son…" was a fulfillment of Hosea 11:1.
  • Matthew 2:8 - "A voice was heard in Ramah… etc." was a fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:15.
  • Matthew 2:23 - "He shall be called a Nazarene …" echoes the words of the angel to Samson's mother in Judges 13:5.

Several thoughts rise from seeing how well-planned God's story is:
1. Evidence of God's planning goes back even further than the prophets quoted here. We can see it from the earliest moments of man's history when God says to Satan after he has lured Eve and Adam to sin: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel" - Genesis 3:15.

2. We do well to know and pay attention to Bible prophecies not yet fulfilled. Maybe we will be the witnesses to their coming to pass!

3. Each one of us who is born again (John 3:1-16) is also part of God's story—a part He has planned just as carefully: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" - Ephesians 2:20 (emphasis added).

Dear God, again I am in awe of Your plan and how through writers You give us glimpses into Your mind and heart. Help me to be faithful to do the good works You have planned for me to do. Amen.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) Used by permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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