And Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jaconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel . . .
Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy of Jesus–you know, the part of the book most of us skip?
There is so much in that section of verses when one takes the time to dig into them, and in that digging one can overlook Matthew 1:11-12 if he or she is not careful.
What a beautiful passage, when one considers how calamitous the Jewish exile was to the proud chosen people of God. It was easy to feel that God had abandoned them during those fateful days, as they were marched off from their home, their city, their temple. Off they were driven to the Babylonian metropolis that embodied so many of the things they adamantly opposed. Many felt alone and depressed at how mightily they had fallen; the bleakness of their circumstances surely had them questioning God’s purposes, and even His existence.
But in this genealogy, one that paves the way for Jesus’ incarnation and being called Immanuel (“God with us!”), we are reminded that even as the Israelites were marched off in exile, even in their darkest hour, God was with them and they were part of His great plan.
It is easy to feel abandoned by God when tough circumstances afflict us. We feel forgotten and alone, and our hope dries up–our faith dwindling along with it. But we must remember Immanuel is not conditional. God is with us, and we are part of His plan no matter what forces are at work. We need not feel alone, for we are never abandoned as His children.
Yes, the wind and the rains come, but the sun is only hidden by the clouds; He is there shining brightly still, even when He is hidden by the raging storms. He is there–God with us.