The Matthew’s Gospel begins with a list of names, but these names show us God’s sovereign work throughout human history to bring his Son, our Savior, into the world, bringing his kingdom for the good of all humanity. Because God worked in the past to establish his kingdom, we as citizens of God’s Kingdom can trust God to work in the present and future for his kingdom.
With each name listed in Matthew 1, there is a story. The stories of those in the past are testimonies of God’s faithfulness and encourage us today in the face of worries. No matter who we are or what has happened to us, God both invites us to be a part of his kingdom and can use us to advance his kingdom. Let’s consider some worries we may have
- How do I fit into the plan of God’s kingdom?
You may think, “Who am I? I’m too weak, not intelligent, unskilled… to be chosen or used by God.”
Question: How do you finish the following sentence? I am too ______ to be chosen or used by God.
But look at one of the most prominent names from Jesus family, in Matthew 1:6, “David.”
Read 1 Samuel 16:1 & 6-7
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD's anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
God choose David not because he was strong, smart, or qualified—for he had none of these qualities. God knew David’s heart was a heart like God’s heart (Acts 13:22).
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
We put our trust in Jesus Christ, not in our abilities, intelligence, or power. In Christ, we are chosen (Ephesians 1:4-5).
- Does my past disqualify me from being in God’s Kingdom?
We all have committed sins in our past that we are ashamed of. Some of us have been sinned against in other ways that bring us shame or cause us to feel like “damaged goods.” But consider the story of the woman listed in Jesus’ family, in Matthew 1:5, “Rahab.”
Rahab’s full story is in Joshua 2-6. Rahab was a prostitute for the enemies of Israel, but she helped Israel’s spies.
Read Hebrews 11:31
By faith Rahab, the prostitute, did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
Because of Rahab’s faith in God’s power and God’s grace she was forgiven of her past and is listed among Jesus’ family in Matthew 1 and heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. Regardless of your past, God’s grace is greater.
- Does tragedy or sickness ruin God’s plans for my life?
Everything in our lives might be going great, and suddenly something horrible happens, and it seems as if God is no longer in control, has forgotten about us, or is no longer good. But consider the story of the name listed in Jesus’ family in Matthew 1:10, “Hezekiah.”
Hezekiah’s amazing story can be read in Isaiah 36-39. Hezehiah was king when the Assyrian army invaded and surrounded the city with a massive army. Hezekiah prayed to God.
Read Isaiah 37:16-20
“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood, and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD.”
God heard Hezekiah’s pray and rescued Jerusalem. Later Hezekiah grew fatally sick. He prayed to God.
Read Isaiah 38:2-6
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, and said, “Please, O LORD, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.
No matter what tragedy happens in our life, we can trust God to accomplish his purposes in our life, whether in our life and even in through our death. Because we are God’s people through Jesus Christ, the promises of Romans 8:28-29 are true for each of us! "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."
Question: Are you facing any tragedies or worries in your life right now?
Be sure to pray about these for one another either now or at the end of this small group time.