Grace with Humility

Do you ever wonder if you’ve messed up so bad that God won’t want to use you anymore? If anyone has ever stood firmly in that place of uncertainty, I think it was David and Bathsheba. Yet tucked away into Jesus’s genealogy is a small detail of significant impact the notorious couple left to encourage those who feel irreparably broken.

But before I get to that, first let’s talk about a man who did mess up so bad that God wrote him off. Not only that. This guy screwed up so bad, God wrote off his offspring as well.

King Jehoiachin

King Jehoiachin. David and Bathsheba’s descendant through King Solomon.

Jeremiah 22:28-30 paints this picture:

Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do not know? O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says: “Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.”

It seems as though God was creating an impossible puzzle for himself. We know that God had promised David that the Messiah would sit on his throne. Yet in this moment, God is cursing the royal bloodline, promising that Jehoiachin’s descendants will no longer sit on the throne.

Why this punishment?

Seven verses earlier, the text tells us: I warned you when you felt secure, but you said, ‘I will not listen!’ This has been your way from your youth; you have not obeyed me.

It is a recurring, dominant theme throughout the entirety of scripture that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6 

He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.  Proverbs 3:34

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5

O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer.  Psalm 31:23

We know that we are all sinners and that we all fall short. Romans 3:23  So, what was the difference between King Jehoiachin, whom God called a broken and despised pot, and King David who was the apple of God’s eye?

It is a recurring, dominant theme throughout the entirety of scripture that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Click To Tweet

Arrogance & Humility

Jehoiachin did what he wanted. He ignored God’s warning. He despised God’s correction. Jehoiachin was the definition of pride and arrogance.

But David was humbled in the face of his sin.  Psalm 51  is a beautiful record of David’s repentance before God. As soon as Nathan the prophet pointed out David’s sin, David repented (2 Samuel 12). He didn’t try to justify his actions. He didn’t hold onto his pride. He reacted in face-down repentance before God.

Nathan’s visit to David brought more than discovery and repentance. It brought heart-breaking consequence. David and Bathsheba lost the son that had been conceived in their sin.

As David comforted Bathsheba through the loss of her son, Solomon was conceived. Jehoiachin, our prideful king, was Solomon’s descendant and is listed in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew. The throne passed from David’s soft heart to Jehoiachin’s prideful heart and God said, “No further.” But how did God solve this puzzle he had made? And, does it show anything more about the power of humility?

Redemption

Matthew opens his gospel by presenting the Jehoiachin puzzle to his Jewish audience.  They would understand the ramifications. If Jesus were Joseph’s true son as it was being argued, then he was disqualified as Messiah. Matthew jumps straight from the impossible genealogy to the solution—Joseph is not Jesus father. Mary  is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

So how did God fulfill the prophecy that the Messiah would be the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3), from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and the house of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6)? By fulfilling the prophecy that he would be the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15).

And this is my favorite part. God repaired the broken threads of David and Bathsheba’s story to weave a beautiful tapestry of redemption. If they were living under condemnation, the name Nathan would have been synonymous with punishment and heartbreak and death. It would remind them of their great sin and the cost of their mistake.

But David and Bathsheba lived under grace. Though their famous son Solomon ascended the throne, it was through their lesser known third son that Jesus’ blood genealogy—and his legitimate claim as Messiah—can be traced. The son David and Bathsheba named after the prophet who had brought God’s correction into their lives—Nathan (Luke 3:21-38).

Let’s Talk

Are you living a David life of humility before God or are you living a Jehoiachin life of prideful indifference to God’s direction? I’d love to read your thoughts down in the comment section below. Want to talk this out? Feel free to email me at stephanie@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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