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December 20th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

The Line of Promise – First Homily – Dec 21 08

Last Sunday we looked at the birth of Jesus in light of the promises of God in the Old Covenant Scriptures. I encouraged you to see the plan of God for His fallen creation in the image of the hour glass. As God imposed judgment upon the serpent after the fall of Adam and Eve into sin there was the promise of eventual victory over the serpent by a son of Eve.

Given at the very beginning of the human race as made in God’s image, this promise could have included any person to come forth from Eve. But it would not be just any person. As time went by, the possibilities as to who this redeemer and victor would be narrowed, even as mankind multiplied. This victor would be from the line of Seth, then later from Methuselah, then later still Noah. Of the sons of Noah the promised offspring would come from the line of his son Shem and not Ham or Japheth.

Eventually from the line of Shem comes Terah, Abram’s father, and Abram himself. Remember in the mean time that the earth is populating very quickly as the descendents of Noah are spreading over the earth. But of the people living in the day of Terah and Abram, God chooses Abram.

The promises of God to Abram are absolutely central to understanding the story of the Bible. All of God’s plans thereafter are the fulfillment of his promises to Abraham. In particular we remember that through Abram’s offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed. God’s desire ultimately to include people from every tribe and nation encompasses all of us here today. For if we belong to Christ we are the offspring of Abraham!

However, from Abraham forward the line of promise would continue to narrow. The promised victor would come from Abraham’s son Isaac. From Isaac the promise would come through his son Jacob.

Eventually as the sons of Jacob multiplied into the people of Israel through whom God made holy covenant, the promise would at the same time come through Israel and especially through a line within Israel.

Of all the sons of Jacob the lien of promise would come from his son Judah, and from all the descendents of Judah from Jesse the Bethlehemite. To Jesse was born David, who was anointed by God through Samuel to be Israel’s king, and who afterward defeated the mighty Goliath.

So David became King. He was not to see his dream realized – the dream of building for God a house, a temple. This would be done by one of David’s sons. And God made covenant with David that one of his offspring rule on the throne of David forever.

And so the line is narrowed again. Through a descendent of David the hero warrior would come. And lo, a thousand years later, in a little town of Judah, Bethlehem the city of David, would be born the promised offspring, Jesus of Nazareth, born of the virgin Mary, offspring of Abraham, Judah, and David. The great hero warrior through whom God would fulfill his promises to Abraham.

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