When you look at the lineage of the Messiah you will see that He will come through the seed of Abraham but the question then is which of the two sons of Abraham will the line be passed. Those who have been around the the Christian faith know the answer but take a moment to consider this.
There are two places where you can read about which line the Messiah would come through. One is in Genesis 17:17-19 which says: 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him and then in Genesis 21:12 we read: But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named.
What we see here is the lineage of Jesus. He is coming through Abraham and Abraham has two sons – which is he going to come through and why? Abraham’s response in Genesis 17:18 show that by this time, he was quite content with Ishmael as the promised son. He believed that Ishmael is the one that is promised. In 13 years, Abraham had grown quite attached to the boy. But God definitely rejects Ishmael and states that Sarah will bear Abraham a son and that this son will be the one with whom God will establish His covenant.
Why not Ishmael? Because Ishmael represented man’s effort helping God out. In Ishmael, Abraham could boast, because he was able to produce a son. But by the time Isaac came along, both Abraham and Sarah were humanly beyond their ability to reproduce. They could take none of the credit. All the glory went to God. God’s delay with Abraham and Sarah brought them to the end of themselves so that His grace got all the credit. If our proud flesh can grab any glory for itself, it will. That’s why God waits until we come to the end of ourselves many times to meet our needs – so we do not take credit.
Again, this is true of salvation. If we think that we can contribute anything to our own salvation, we’ll take the credit. If we think we came to Christ by our own free will, we’ll boast in our wise choice. If we think it was by our faith, we’ll boast in our great faith. If we think it was by our rational ability, we’ll boast in our great intellect. But if our salvation depends solely on God, and if God chose those who were foolish, weak, and despised, then no man can boast before God as Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31.
We can’t take any credit for our salvation if it is totally of God and not at all from us. In our flesh, we can produce an Ishmael and its good enough for us, but God doesn’t work that way. He wants to bring us all to the end of ourselves, and then He gives us Isaac as a free gift, so that we bow before Him, lost in wonder.
So when it comes to the lineage of Jesus he could not come through Ishmael who was of the flesh but had to come through Isaac who was of the Sprit and miraculous. We can see in in two places in the New Testament that Christ came through Isaac. We see it in Matthew 1:1-2 which says: The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: It is also seen in Luke 3:34 which says: the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor.
So for us we need to make sure this Christmas we are worshipping the one who came through the Spirit and miraculous line. We also need to make sure we are not trying to help God out in our flesh but allowing God to be God and do His God thing! Too often we want to help God along like Abraham did with Ishmael.
What is one way you have tried to help God out in life?
(I will be out almost all day so I will respond when I get a chance)