My oldest son, Joshua, is on a new LEGO® building kick—he is building functioning candy vending machines. They’re pretty clever. Some dispense candy when you push a button, others require you to put a coin in. One even has a hidden compartment with the key to open it to retrieve the change. The optimist in me loves his creativity. The pessimist in me wonders if this is a grand conspiracy to get candy from us. He is clever enough to build vending machines, so he is clever enough to trick us into buying bags of candy, right?
I challenged him to build a Rube Goldberg machine the other day, but he still hasn’t taken me up on it. Probably because there is no candy involved. Although, I guess there could be.
You may not be familiar with that term, but you most likely know the machine. Rube Goldberg machines are those chain reaction contraptions named after a comics depicting characters who used these complex machines to do something rather simple. Many Rube Goldberg machines feature marbles, pulleys, levers, objects falling, and more. I love watching them because it is so fun to watch how each action feeds into the next. I enjoy watching dominos fall for the same reason. There is a beauty to these processes.
That is kind of how I view the Old Testament, too. When you take a step back and look over the beginnings of the gospel story and watch it continue through the generations such as during this week’s session, From Abraham to Jesus, there is a complicated beauty to it. Think about the “chain reactions” we have studied over the past 18 months that have led to this moment. There is amazing beauty and design in God’s providential work to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus. We see it in individual stories, such as Joseph’s narrative in Genesis, and we see it more broadly in the history of the people God formed through Abraham.
Take these two verses from Matthew 1 for example:
5 Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab,
Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth,
Obed fathered Jesse,
6 and Jesse fathered King David.
David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife,
Do you see God fine-tuning the machine of the gospel here? Remember Rahab? She was the harlot in Jericho who took in the spies and hid them, which led to her being spared when the city was conquered by Israel, which led to her marrying a man named Salmon and having a son named Boaz.
You remember Boaz, right? He was the gracious man who acted as kinsman redeemer for Ruth, the Moabite widow, who impressed him with her faithful character.
Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed who gave them a grandson named Jesse.
And you know Jesse—the father of David.
Marbles, pulleys, levers, objects falling, and dominos on a grander and glorious scale.
A prostitute from Jericho was the great, great grandmother of David.
Only our God could orchestrate that! And only our God would use completely unexpected people to bring forth His Son into the world—which itself would be the most unexpected.
There’s a certain beauty of watching dominos fall or Rube Goldberg machines work, but it pales in comparison to reading names on a page of Scripture, doesn’t it? That is what you want to help your kids see this week. Show them the beauty of the gospel—of God’s amazing plan—laid before them in the lineage of Jesus.
How can you see the beauty of God’s complicated plan to send His Son? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the March 5, 2017 session (Unit 19, Session 1) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian, his wife, Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 4-5 graders at City Church.