God in a Manger

luke 27 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 2:1–7 (ESV)

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read of the Jesus’ birth. The whole thing is recorded in seven verses. The most startling thing, and the thing we overlook because we are so used to reading it, is that Jesus was placed into a manger. A manger is an animal feeding trough. Think about that for just a moment. Jesus, the divine Son, came into this world as a baby and was placed into a trough that animals ate from.

Would you do that with your child? Would you expect anyone to do that with their child? Consider this: Jesus was not any child. Jesus was the Messiah. He was the King. He was God in the flesh; the King of kings and Lord of lords! Would any royal family place their newborn child into a manger? No way!

When we meet Jesus in a manger, it tells us something about him. Yes, he was the Messiah, but he was different than other kings. Jesus is the King who came to save the lowly of the world. Jesus was the King who came to serve his people. Jesus was the King who came to give his life for his people that they might have life through him. What an amazing King we have!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are reading through the life of Christ as recorded in the four Gospel accounts in 2019.

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The Promised King

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Reading the Word

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.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus’ genealogy as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Today, we look at Jesus’ genealogy as recorded by Matthew. When we read this list of names, it is important to understand why Matthew is giving us this list. He tips us off to his purpose in the very first verse. He wants us to know that Jesus is the son of David and the son of Abraham.

Luke shows us how Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise made to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. That is why his genealogy traces all the way back to Adam. However, Matthew is showing us that Jesus is the fulfillment of promises made to both Abraham and David. God had promised Abraham that kings would come from his line (Genesis 17:6) and he had promised David that he would have a descendant who would sit on the throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, the King whose reign was promised and would never end.

It is amazing to think about the promises that God made in the Scriptures long ago. Through them, we see that God is faithful and trustworthy. He keeps his promises! We also see that God loves us even though we are often unlovable due to our sin. But God sent his Son into the world to be our King, the King who would die for his people so that we could be saved and have life. What a great King he is!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We will be reading through the life of Christ as recorded in the four Gospel accounts in 2019.

The All-Powerful King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 114:1–8 (ESV)

1 When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 114 recounts the exodus from Egypt by the Israelites. The details of the event are recalled in a manner that stresses the grand power of God. The sea looked and fled at the presence of God as the people crossed over the parted waters. The mountains skipped and the earth trembled as God descended at Sinai. And God brought water from the rock to supply his people.

God is the all-powerful King of creation. Everything bows before him. When he lead the people out of Egypt, there was nothing that could stand in their way, not even the seas and mountains. This is the same God who leads us into the world as his people. As we follow him, we go in the confidence of his power and authority. May we proclaim his greatness and grace to the nations.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Lord Says to My Lord

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Reading the Word

Psalm 110:1–7 (ESV)

A Psalm of David. 1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” 2 The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! 3 Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. 4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth. 7 He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus quotes this psalm in Mark 12:36-37:

David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

Jesus points out that David, the king of Israel, calls another one “my Lord.” How could David, the king of Israel, refer to another as his Lord? The answer is that there would be a descendant from David who would be greater than David. Of course, that descendant is Jesus himself, the divine King of Israel. The remainder of the psalm speaks of Jesus’ reign and judgment over the nations.

Jesus is the promised King (i.e. Messiah) of the line of David. However, Jesus is not just any king. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is God in the flesh. He is the divine ruler of all creation whose kingdom will never end. And he will judge the nations with righteousness and justice. In the end, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Lord Has Established His Throne

Kingdom of God

Reading the Word

Psalm 103:19–22 (ESV)

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 22 Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we come to the end of this psalm, all of heaven is called on to join in the worship of the Lord. His throne is in heaven and his dominion is over all places and things.

Can you imagine all of creation, both heaven and earth, joining in worship of God because of his steadfast love and sovereign rule? Can you imagine the whole world joined together in singing and adoration before the throne of God, the Creator? This is what Psalm 103 calls for. He is a great God and worthy of praise from all of his creation. Let our souls rejoice in him and join the heavens and the earth in blessing his name!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Devoted to the Lord

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Reading the Word

Psalm 101:1–8 (ESV)

1 I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music. 2 I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; 3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. 5 Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. 6 I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. 7 No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. 8 Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The words of this psalm may seem harsh at first glance. The writer speaks of his devotion to the Lord, which is a good thing, but he also speaks of “destroying” those who slander and the wicked. However, when we read it in its proper context, the psalm becomes clear.

The words of Psalm 101 are from David, who was king in Israel. These words reflect his personal devotion to ruling according to the word of God and also his commitment to see to it that the entire government of Israel would be committed to the Lord. We know from Scripture that David failed on several accounts to live faithfully and that Israel’s government was often corrupted by sin. However, these words also point us to the one King descended from David who would be fully devoted to the will of God as well as to a day when the people would live under the rule of a just and righteous government. That King is Jesus, the King of kings and hope of all nations.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Lord Reigns!

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Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading from Scripture. If you would like to follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018, please be sure to subscribe to this page.

Reading the Word

Psalm 93:1–5 (ESV)

1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! 5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.

A Forever Promise

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Reading the Word

Psalm 89:27–37 (ESV)

27 And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. 28 My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. 29 I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens. 30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, 31 if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, 32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, 33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. 34 I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. 35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David. 36 His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me. 37 Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses continue the theme of yesterday’s reading regarding God’s promise to David. In 2 Samuel 7, God promises David that his throne will remain forever. There will always be a descendant of David on the throne. Not only would David and his descendants reign over Israel, but over all of the nations (v. 27). When we get to verse 30 we read about how God will respond if David’s descendants do not seek God and do not keep his commandments. They will be punished, but God will not remove his grace nor the kingship from them. God then swears y his own character that he would not go back on his promise to David (v. 34).

At first glance, this may seem like an unrealized promise. After all, if someone was supposed to sit on David’s throne forever, where is he today? When we read the Bible and come into the New Testament, we are shown that Jesus Christ is the final fulfillment of this promise. Jesus is a descendant of David and is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Matthew 1:1-17; Colossians 1:15-20) whose kingdom will never cease. We are called to be a part of his kingdom by repenting of our sins, turning to Christ for forgiveness, and living in obedience to our King. Praise to God for keeping his promises!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

A Shepherd King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:65–72 (ESV)

65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine. 66 And he put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting shame. 67 He rejected the tent of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, 68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves. 69 He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever. 70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; 71 from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. 72 With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Against conventional understanding, God rejected the tribe of Ephraim and chose Judah. Ephraim is the tribe descended from Joseph and seemed to be the tribe of favor. However, God showed his sovereignty and his grace by choosing Judah instead. God chose David, a descendant of Judah and made him king over Israel.

While king, God promised David that he would have a descendant who would sit on the throne forever. In the New Testament, we learn that this descendant is Jesus Christ. God’s grace was not only with Judah in the days of David, but God would bring the Messiah, the King of kings, into the world to bring salvation and to forever shepherd the people of God. What a wonderful and gracious God who uses flawed people to fulfill his perfect plans for this world!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Who Can Stand?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 76:7–12 (ESV)

7 But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused? 8 From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still, 9 when God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth. Selah 10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise you; the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt. 11 Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared, 12 who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Who can stand before God when His anger is roused? The answer is “No one.” When God comes to judge the world, all will fear Him and recognize Him as the true King. In light of this, it is best that we turn to Him now.

Many deny that God could display wrath. Yet, the Bible is clear that one day God will pour out His wrath on unbelievers who have not turned to Christ for forgiveness. The cross is a picture of that wrath as the Father poured out His wrath on His Son, Jesus Christ, who stood in the place of all sinners who would place their trust in Him. For those who refuse to turn to Christ in repentance and faith, God’s wrath will fall on them. When that day comes, all will fear the Lord and know that He is the Judge and King.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!