Belief and unbelief.
Joseph trusted in God. His brothers trusted in their own plans (their plot to be rid of a little brother–good thing for them that God had other plans!).
Job was grappling with faith in the midst of an unimaginable hardship. His friends were at work to find his human flaws to justify punishment.
Zechariah asked a question of the messenger–Mary did too!–but what was at work on a heart level differentiated them. One, who was perhaps doubtful. The other, seeking.
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:1:38 NLT.
Paul talks about God using the least expected to confound the wise–and it’s splayed across chapters: a brother sold into slavery who becomes a leader … a wealthy man who loses everything in moments … a virgin girl and a barren, old woman to both conceive children who would change everything … and even Paul, hater turned lover of Christ.
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 NLT.
Overall, a message of being chosen, and a reminder that nothing is impossible with God.
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- Esther–a new opening for the Queen’s job. Girls from the area taken and prepared to apply. Esther is chosen.
- Matthew–a lineage listed, all leading up to the fulfillment of prophecy. A Messiah. When Joseph woke up, he did as he was told.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. Matthew 1:20-25 NLT.
- Luke–a man prepares the way, preaching and baptizing. Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon. And then one day, Jesus was baptized.
Esther would save her people through obedience and humility.
Jesus did the same.
Esther, Joseph, John and Jesus–these chapters are the first-step-starts of bigger stories and journeys. Each one, responding in obedience: one being taken from the familiar and placed into royalty; another faced with a cultural blemish; one marches fervently and focused; and Jesus–the son of God and Savior.
These stories all united by the tasks before them, the big jobs prepared for them before their births. They are united by the obedience to do what was required. And they tell me that first-step starts lead to bigger stories and journeys.
When my task is to love God with all my heart, and to love my neighbor as myself–first-step-starts in obedience will lead to greater endings than I could ever imagine. It leads to lives changed and God’s glory. Even if, at first, it is only a package of cookies delivered with a smile.
Father, may I always be listening for your call.
Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Esther, Luke, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament
Tagged as 66 books, Bible in a year, Bible reading plan, book club, Christmas cookies, Esther, God is with us, God's glory, Jesus, Joseph, love your neighbor, loving God, Luke, Mary, Matthew, Messiah, New Testament, obedience, Old Testament