Read His Words Before Ours!
Just as faces easily get lost in a large crowd, so too do unfamiliar, hard-to-pronounce names in a long list of “So and so begat so and so….”
Genealogies can be pretty boring, fairly easy to gloss over, or skip entirely.
BUT when we take time to read them, we discover amazing stories AND see how God has been at work since Genesis to bring about OUR salvation today.
In Matthew 1, we find 5 women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy. Mention of a woman in a lineage in this time period was shocking, so we really should take notice.
Looking beyond names, we uncover remarkable tales of romance, revenge, regret, renewal, and best of all, redemption.
These women were hand-picked by God to play integral roles in the greatest story of all time.
Tamar, cast aside and forgotten.
Until God gave her a DOUBLE blessing.
Then, as the city walls tumbled down, she was rescued.
God was laying the foundation for His eternal kingdom in the tale of a harlot.
Ruth, widow and foreigner with nothing to offer.
Except her loyalty and love.
God saw her sacrifice and used it to create a Gift for all mankind.
Mary, unwed pregnant teenager.
She didn’t understand God’s plan, but accepted her role in it.
Oh, what we can learn from these ladies!
Ruth is one of my all-time favorite Bible characters. I’ve always been drawn to her faithfulness to Naomi. Following the death of their husbands, Ruth’s mother-in-law begged her to stay in Moab.
Ruth, having none of it, adamantly declares,
“Where you go, I will go […] your God will be my God.”
I would have loved to witness Ruth’s fierce determination that day.
Tearing running down her cheeks.
Her nose dripping snot.
Her tangled hair matted with dust and dirt.
Through all the mess, God saw the face of redemption.
As we’ve studied the story of Naomi and Ruth, we witnessed God bringing HOPE even in the midst of loss. Boaz, their kinsmen redeemer, was a beacon of light breaking through their darkness as he stepped up and said YES to his responsibility. He looked past the debt he would inherit and focused on the RELATIONSHIP he would enjoy with Ruth.
Back again to the long lists of genealogies, we read in Jesus’, “Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).” (Matthew 1:5, emphasis mine)
Look back at the first half of the verse … see the connection to Rahab? She was Boaz’s mom! I just love that! Who would have thought when 2 spies walked through her door, she would step into the lineage of JESUS?!
The men saw an easy opportunity to assess the city undetected.
God saw the face of redemption.
She welcomed the spies and hid them on her roof.
She had only heard about the Red Sea, yet put her faith in God.
God not only saved her life, but used HER to save OURS.
What a story He writes.
Rahab marries Salmon. They have baby Boaz.
Boaz meets Ruth, a widow and foreigner with nothing to offer but debt.
Yet, he welcomes her to become part of his FAMILY.
Soon, they become parents to Obed.
As they hand Naomi her grandson, joy abounds.
She returned to Bethlehem empty.
Yet, in an incredible turn of God-ordained events, God restores what was lost.
As she looks down at Obed, she sees the face of redemption.
We don’t have time to expand on the tragedy of David and Bathsheba. We DO need to highlight that just as God was faithful to Naomi, so too did He eventually turn Bathsheba’s ashes to beauty. As she held her redemption baby, Solomon, in her arms, she too stared into the face of redemption.
Many generations pass before we see another woman in Jesus’ genealogy. We may not know the names of all the mothers whose sons are listed, but rest assured as they held their baby boys, they too looked into the face of redemption.
And with each birth, God brought US closer to OUR redemption.
Finally, we see MARY.
I often wish I could have followed her from the day the angel appeared to her
to the night she gave birth to Jesus and laid Him in the manger.
I just witnessed a mama give birth and hold her newborn for the first time. What joy and elation! As a doula, I see lots of births. Still, my mind can’t fathom all Mary experienced as she held Jesus, GOD HIMSELF, in her arms.
Completely dependent on her for life, yet HE was HER source of Life . . . her Savior.
There, surrounded by stinky farm animals, Mary held baby Jesus and stared down with awe and wonder at THE face of Redemption.
From Tamar to Rahab to Ruth to Bathsheba to Mary, God used these women to weave a story of restoration and redemption.
Just as each of these women were broken, so too are we.
They needed redeeming and still, God used them to bring about redemption.
As you look in the mirror today, realize you too can see the face of redemption.
You can recognize your need for a Savior.
He will welcome you with open arms.
You can also accept your role in God’s on-going redemption story.
You can extend His love and grace to those around you.
As you do, He will use YOU to restore what has been lost in ways you may never even know.
My dear sisters, may we each say YES to Jesus today.
May we BE faces of redemption today.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!