3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2021/11)

Matthew 1:1-17 (ESV)
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Day 1: Loving God
Did you know that Jesus has a checkered genealogy? Verse 7 tells us that one of Jesus’s ancestors was “Rehoboam,” the son of Solomon. It was Rehoboam whose folly and unnecessary cruelty split Israel in half (1 Kigns 12). Under his reign, Judah was led into all kinds of idolatry, cult prostitution, and abominations (1 Kings 14). It was under his watch that Jerusalem was invaded by Shishak king of Egypt and the treasures of the temple of God ransacked. Abijah (1 Kings 15; 2 Chron. 15:3; 2 Chron. 11:20 -22) and Joram (2 Kings 8:18) were no better. Ahaz, who succeeded Jotham, “even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree” (2 Kings 16:3-4). Manasseh was even worse. He “led [Judah] astray to do more evil than the [pagan] nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel” (2 Kings 21:9). And, of course, during the reign of Jechoniah, who continued to do “evil in the sight of the LORD,” Judah was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and sent into exile in Babylon (2 Chron. 36:9-10).
But that’s not all. In Genesis 38, Judah sleeps with a woman that he think is a prostitute, only to discover that she was Tamar, his daughter-in-law, who had disguised herself in order to get impregnated by him, since Judah had been unjustly withholding his son from her, whom he owed her in accordance with the principles of Levirate marriage. And Perez, Jesus’s ancestor, was conceived by this illicit, incestuous union according to verse 3. Similarly, verse 5 tells us that King David’s great great grandfather Salmon “father[ed] Boaz by Rahab,”whom Joshua 2:1 tells us explicitly was a Canaanite prostitute. And verse 6 is the kicker of them all. It says, “David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” Bathsheba is not even named here. Instead, to make his point abundantly clear, Matthew describes her as “the wife of Uriah.” David committed adultery with Bathsheba and impregnated her, then tried to cover it up by attempting to make Uriah sleep with her so that his illegitimate child can be hidden. When that didn’t work, David arranged to have Uriah, a valuable and honorable warrior, killed in battle, so he could steal Bathsheba to be his own wife. Matthew calls Bathsheba “the wife of Uriah,” to rub in the point that David should have never had Bathsheba. And yet it is through this illicit union that Solomon, one of Jesus’s royal predecessors is born. Jesus’s checkered genealogy including adulterers, murderers, idolaters, and prostitutes, shows us that Jesus really took on our sinful humanity. He embraced sinners with all sorts of sordid history, so that no matter who you are or what you have done, you can be saved by coming to Jesus in repentance and faith.
  • Confess your sins to God, and receive God’s grace in Christ.
  • Give thanks specifically to God for all that He has done for you in Christ.
  • Pray for deeper humility, so that you might be occupied more with Christ and less with yourself, that you might be more aware of His sufficiency/power than your need/weakness.

Day 2: Loving One Another
Verse 16 says, “Jesus was born, who is called Christ.” “Christ” is a title, that means Messiah (John 4:25), the Anointed One. The prophesied King who would come to rescue the people of God. He came to a sinful world governed by Satan, the one whom He calls “the ruler of this world” in the Gospel of John (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), whom Ephesians 2:2 calls “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” And Jesus donned the crown of thorns, and was hung on a cross, the Messiah crucified to pay the penalty for the sins of His people. And Jesus rose again from the dead and is now exalted at the right hand of the Father, reigning forevermore as God’s chosen King! It is in this way that Jesus “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to [His] kingdom.” The evil one, therefore, has no claim on us. He has no authority over us, because, as those who have repented of their sins and put their faith in Jesus, we now belong to Christ the King. We’re under a new regime. The church, the family of God, is an outpost, or an embassy, of the Kingdom of God. In this world that is in rebellion against God, we must daily endure innumerable indignities to our Lord’s name and glory. In this world, we have tribulations and temptations. But when we gather together as a church, we get to lay aside our burdens and distractions and worship our Lord and fix our eyes on Christ our King. It is an imperfect, yet genuine foretaste of heaven.
  • Pray that we’d see the local church through God’s eyes, and grow in our love for it. Pray that we’d be a church that cherishes the worship of our Lord and King.
  • Pray for the sanctification of fellow church members, that we’d grow in our holiness, being set apart for Christ our King.
  • Pray that we’d be a church that is centered around Jesus our Messiah—that He would increase and we would decrease.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Jesus is “the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1) who fulfills God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:4-5, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. Jesus is the ultimate heir of this promise. Through Jesus, not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles, indeed, all the nations of the earth who put their faith in Him, will receive the gift of salvation and eternal life.
This might be the point that Matthew is making with the women that he selectively includes in Jesus’s genealogy. These are the four mothers mentioned in the entire genealogy of Jesus (Tamar in verse 3, Rahab in verse 5, Ruth in verse 5, and Bathsheba in verse 6), and all four of them are most likely foreigners, non-Jews. The lineage of Jesus the Jewish Messiah suggests that God’s plan also includes the Gentiles. All those who repent of their sins, renounce their foreign idols, and pledge allegiance to the LORD God will be saved and counted among His people. Are there people in your life that you think are beyond the reach of God’s grace? Are there people you wouldn’t think to share the gospel with?
  • Pray for the Christmas Eve service, that many unbelievers would come and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray that God would send out more laborers into the harvest, both here and abroad, especially, this month, for China, a nation we have been praying for throughout November.
  • Pray that the sharing the gospel with unbelievers would be a weekly occurrence among our members, and baptisms a frequent, even monthly, occurrence.
  • Pray by name for your unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors. Pray that you might be filled with the Holy Spirit to bear bold witness to Jesus.
  • Pray for Mattea as she prepares to leave for Southeast Asia as a missionary in the beginning of December.

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