Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Babies ... and God's Plan for the World

Did you ever notice how God often used conception and babies when He was starting a new phase in His redemptive plan?  Think about it ...

In the book of Genesis, after the Fall and the Flood, God starts His redemptive plan with a man named Abram (later renamed Abraham).  One of the things God promised to Abram was to make him into a great nation and to bless the world through His descendants.  But there was only one problem ... Abram and his wife were both old and didn't have any children.  So God stepped in and gave Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age named Isaac (Gen. 21:1-7).

In the book of Exodus, God rescued the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt so that He could make them into a chosen nation, give them His law, and dwell among them in the Tabernacle.  So how did He start the process?  With a baby who only narrowly escaped the murderous hands of Pharaoh.  Pharaoh had decreed that all the Israelite baby boys would be thrown into the Nile, but ironically Pharaoh's own daughter pulled baby Moses from a basket in the Nile and adopted him (Exod. 1:22-2:10).

In the book of 1 Samuel, the first king of Israel is about to be named, kicking off a 600-year period of Israelite history known as the "Monarchy Period."  So how does the book begin?  With a barren women named Hannah who prayed for a son.  God granted her request and she gave birth to Samuel who eventually anointed Saul as king and then later anointed David (1 Sam. 1:1-20).

Finally, in the New Testament when God sent the Messiah to earth to die on the cross for the sins of the world and usher in the Church Age, how does the story start?  Not with one supernatural birth, but two!  The first baby was John the Baptist who, like Isaac, was born to parents who were old and (up until then) barren (Luke 1:5-2557-66).  And the second baby was of course Jesus, whose birth was nothing short of miraculous as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin named Mary (Matt. 1:18-25).

So from Abraham to Jesus, God often used conception and babies to start new phases of His work.  The question is ... Why?  I believe the answer lies in the fact that conception was entirely in the hands of the Lord.  It is He who opens and closes wombs (see Gen. 30:2 and Gen. 30:22).  And in the case of baby Moses, God was working through a helpless baby who was in dire straits to show His absolute control over the situation.  I believe in all of these instances God was proving that He was the one who was guiding events, He was the one who was initiating something new, He was the one who was stepping into history and saving the world ... and we owe Him everything for that.