Do you love researching who your family descended from? I confess that I love researching my family tree. I’m from the South and we were raised being told that our great grandmother on my mom’s side was full Cherokee. I think that’s a popular story told in a lot of Southern families. But DNA tells a different tale. A little Irish, a little Scottish, oh for sure. Lots of German – oh I thought that was just from Dad! But none of the noble Cherokee blood flows in our veins.
As I was thinking about all of this, I thought – wow, the stories Jesus’ parents could have told him about their family tree! They could have told Him he was descended from earthly Kings – David and Solomon. But what about the women in their family? They could have told him about Ruth and Boaz and what a love story of the heart that was. They may not have been so anxious to talk about Tamar, or Rahab or the beautiful Bathsheba.
We all have those kinds of people in our families too – some of us ARE those people. I often feel damaged and inadequate, lost in how I am supposed to be of service to God and those around me. I wonder if those women often felt the same? I believe God presents those women in Jesus’ lineage as a promise to all of us. God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called – and we are all called!
"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
21) equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV
There is only one ever born without sin, and that was Jesus Christ Himself. God allowed all these women a place of great honor in the genealogy of His Son – and He fully equipped them to do His will.
Tamar was assertive of her rights but had a loyal heart for the family of Judah. Taking things into her own hands when her father-in-law Judah refuses to uphold his obligation of giving Tamar his last son.
Posing as a prostitute, she puts herself in a place where she knows Judah will pass. Judah sees her and has relations with her. She is wise enough to obtain his seal and staff in advance of payment.
Rumor reaches Judah that Tamar is pregnant and has been faithless to her obligation to remain chaste. Judah commands that she be burnt to death. However, Tamar has anticipated this reaction. She sends his identifying pledge to him, urging him to recognize that its owner is the father. Realizing what has happened, Judah publicly announces Tamar’s innocence.
God blesses her with twins, Perez and Zerah. Perez, as first born, is the line though which Jesus is descended.
Ruth was a Moabite. Technically, Boaz should not have married her because of her Pagan worship. Ruth chose to abandon her religion and family and instead follow Naomi back to Judah. Instead of returning to her own family, Ruth vows to Naomi to stay with her and adopt her people and her God.
But Ruth said,” Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 ESV
Because of this change of heart, Ruth is blessed to find Boaz, to be married to him, and be included in the lineage of Jesus. Our heart is all that God requires – He will take care of the rest.
When Joshua was readying for his attack on Jericho, he first sent two spies to scout out the city. These men chose to lodge with Rahab, the harlot – probably thinking that their presence there would be less noticeable. When the King sent men to take the spies, Rahab instead chooses to hide them on her roof - sending the King’s men away, saying the spies had already left. In return, Rahab pleads for her life and the life of her family. She expresses her faith by saying, “I know the Lord has given you the land.” Joshua 2:9
Rahab had certainly lived a life counter to God’s Word. She could have turned the spies over to the Kings men. She could have slammed the door in the face of the opportunity that God was giving her. But she had a change of heart. Instead, she was transformed into a woman of faith. Her marriage to Salmon ensured her place in the linage of Christ. When we choose God, He can do great things through us.
" for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 ESV
Some have viewed Bathsheba as a beautiful manipulator, bathing in a courtyard and enticing David, then seizing the opportunity to be with him when he sent for her. However, as we examine the details, we see that it may actually be sexual abuse of power, in other words, rape. There were consequences for both Bathsheba and David for this act, the loss of the son that they created. Often in the middle of the devastation of our sin, is when we want to seek God, to entreat him to remove the consequences of the choices we made. God doesn’t always protect us from the costs of our disobedience, but when we repent, God will forgive us fully. Bathsheba was blessed with another son – Solomon – who was not only a King but was also blessed to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ESV
When we read the account of the virgin birth of Christ, we often imagine Mary as a young woman, but seldom do we see her as the young teenager that she was. Accounts of her age range from 14 years to 16 years old. Yet when the angel of the Lord appears to her, her reaction is complete obedience.
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38 ESV
Imagine the reaction from the community she lived in, and of her parents, and of Joseph at this time – difficult enough for an adult to experience - but this young woman chose to have faith in her Savior, to give Him her heart totally, to follow His will. The result was the very salvation of the world.
These women could all have used the same excuses we all use everyday. I'm too young. I'm too damaged. I'm too busy. I'm too _____________ (insert excuse here). The truth is, all they really had to give was their heart, and God handled the rest. God doesn’t need our help in getting our lives ready for Him. He only wants our heart.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 ESV