I recently re-watched the Fellowship of the Ring. It struck me this time like never before how unorganized all the forces of good were. Frodo starts hiking up the road with Nazgul chasing him, and somehow he manages to get away. Aragorn jumps into the fray and they manage to make it out of the wilderness to Rivendell by the skin of their teeth. And then they leave on foot to WALK to Mordor. Men are unorganized, and leaders are either less equipped than they realize or aware of the true weight of responsibility. The elves are fading into the west, and the dwarves are holed up in their mines. It must be as Gandalf said, Frodo was meant to have the ring, and somehow kept walking towards Mordor.
Jesus’ family history in Matthew 1 reads like that with backstory from the Old Testament:
“David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. 8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.”
David was a great king, chosen by God and blessed by Him. God even worked through his sinful seizing of Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. Solomon was born from that, and asked for wisdom. But he did not use it. His son Rehoboam listened to his peers and lost most of the kingdom of Israel, leaving only two tribes to his rule. As 1 and 2 Kings continues, the line of kings in Judah is not much better than the kings of Israel who turn their backs on God. Hezekiah is a bright example of a godly king, followed by a son who turned Judah to evil more than any other king in their history. Josiah rediscovered God’s laws which had been lost. And it did not take long before the nation as a whole was captured and taken to Babylon.
But the line is not lost.
Man fails, but God’s promise does not. And sons were born. They were not kings, but they carried the blood of promise into a future generation.
God does not fail where man is weakest. He worked through sinful generations, even when all hope seemed to be lost.
I admire those who were faithful to God in the face of overwhelming doom. He acted for them, like when Jerusalem was miraculously saved in the days of Hezekiah. And even after Judah went into exile, they returned to the land. The rather uncomfortable fact in all of this is how easy it is to just follow the crowd, and how hard it is to follow God. Man just keeps failing. But this is not the end of the story.
God, thank You for epic stories that are embarrassing, inspiring, frustrating, hopeful, and heartbreaking. Life is so mixed with good and bad. Thank You for providing strength to the good when the bad seems strongest. Please help me, God, to not focus on the cloud of doom, but on Your power that is greater. And help me see beyond myself and this present darkness that You have already defeated. To You be the glory, God! Amen.