Summary: Shows how the O.T. writes the geneaology of Christ in advance. Text Genesis 38:1-30




Matthew 1:2-6; Galatians 3:16,29; Genesis 38:1-30

When I was in my early teens I considered my brother, who is thirteen years my senior and who was then a medical student, the fountain of all wisdom. Normally he considered me a pest, and generally barred me from his room when he was studying. As a very small child I had tossed a coin collection of his down a grate into a furnace, never to be retrieved. So you can see why he developed early the idea that I was a pest.

I considered it a very special privilege to be able to sleep with my brother in his bed when company would come and they would be given my bed. I can remember vividly a conversation I had with him on one particular occasion.

As we were resting on our backs, I said to him: “BOB, let’s discuss something.”

So he turned to me, and pointed out a little cavity in my chest bone. He said: “What do you call that?” Not being a medical student, I professed my ignorance. He said: “That is a salt cellar. You use it to put salt in when you eat celery in bed.”

I said: “Come on. Let’s talk about something serious.” So he came up with this one. “If you had thirty minutes to tell a person what the Old Testament is all about, what would you tell them?”

I am not sure how I answered him then, but let me today suggest a possible answer. In short, the Old Testament is the story of the immediate family of Jesus Christ, and how that family was preserved and instructed to bring us the Person and message of Jesus Christ. And as we consider this theme developing in its early stages in the Old Testament, I want you to realize that only God, who could foresee from whom Jesus Christ was to be born, could have written the Old Testament. Only God, who knew that Jesus was to be the God-man, could have written Genesis 3:15. Only God, who knew that Jesus Christ was to come of the seed of Noah, would have chosen Noah of all the families of the earth to escape the flood. Only God, who knew that of the three sons of Noah, Shem was the line to produce the Messiah, would have guided the writer of Genesis to record what he does in Genesis 11:10—32, and not some other genealogy.

The Bible is the Word of God. It cannot be the word of men alone. Let me illustrate. Let us suppose that you were born in 1950 and this year reached your 55th birthday. Suppose that in 450 A.D. someone said to some historian: “In the twentieth century, a person named “Yours Truly” (Supply your own name.) is to be born. I want you to begin now to arrange for the recording of his (or her) genealogy. I want you to make sure that everything important about every person

in the direct line is recorded. I do not want anything superfluous in the genealogy and in the historical records associated with the genealogy. Everything must be

pertinent to the direct line of “Yours Truly.” A person in 450 A.D., hearing that proposal, would have had to say, “That is humanly impossible. You cannot write history in advance, and your proposal involves doing just that”.

Genesis 38 is a wonderful example of how God directed history and the writing of this genealogy in advance. Genesis 37-50 deals primarily with Joseph. Joseph is not in the direct line of Christ. Rather his brother Judah is in the direct line. The question then arises: Why are fourteen chapters spent telling the Joseph story? Well, the Joseph story is important because Joseph was the instrument whom God used to preserve the life of Judah who was in the direct line of Christ. And the most important underlying theme in the Joseph story is Judah’s part. If it bad not been for Judah, Joseph may have died before he ever set foot in Egypt, for it was Judah’s recommendation that the brothers sell him as a slave, not kill him.

Actually Genesis 38 is one of the most important chapters in the Joseph story, and it says nothing at all about Joseph. From a human standpoint one might say: “Why did the author put this crude story into the Joseph sequence? It has nothing to do with Joseph. It just interrupts a perfectly good story that would be better off without such an interruption. But from the divine standpoint Genesis 38 is a very important part of the Joseph story. Genesis 38 describes the line of Judah, and one of the main points of all Bible history is the preservation of the line of Judah.

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