A Scar On The Family Tree

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab,  Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa… Matthew 1:1-7
I don’t think that I have ever given much thought to the first book of Matthew.  Maybe the last eight verses that tell about the birth of Jesus, but certainly not the first 17. Reading about the genealogy of someone, even if He is my Lord and Savior, is akin to reading the book of numbers.  But that’s just me. However, this time was different. Very different. As I was reading through this first chapter of Matthew, something stood out to me.  It’s mostly men who are mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy except for four women. …whose mother was Tamar …whose mother was Rahab …whose mother was Ruth …whose mother had been Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba) Now, we don’t know a ton about Tamar, but we learn from Genesis 38 that she was the daughter-in-law of Judah, one of Joseph’s brothers.  After being widowed by he husband, Er, and shamed by her brother-in-law, Onan, she ended up seducing her father-in-law into sleeping with her. And of course, she conceived. (It seems like everyone conceives the first time they have sex in the Bible. It took me nearly four years to get pregnant with Noah, but whatever.) Rahab was lovingly referred to as “Rahab the prostitute” in Joshua, chapters 2 and 6.  Despite her tainted past, she chose to help God’s people when the walls of Jericho fell. In case you weren’t aware, the Moabites were enemies of Israel.  And Ruth was a Moabitess. Although she showed honor to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and eventually married an upright man of God, Boaz, there is no mistake about her heritage. She was from an idolatrous nation and was an idolater herself. Bathsheba, also known as Uriah’s wife, was the mother of Solomon and the wife of King David. Sounds spectacular, yes? No. It turned out okay but she was the one who was bathing on her roof when King David saw her. They slept together, she conceived and the King David had her husband killed. Their relationship was born out of adultery and deception. Do you have any idea where I am going with this? The earthly heritage of our Lord and Savior was anything but spotless.  Having a couple of prostitutes, an idolater and an adulterer as limbs on your family tree isn’t exactly what you’d expect to see when it comes to the Savior of the world, now is it? That’s probably one of the things that I love most about our God.  Not only did he take broken vessels and bring something good from them, but he also made sure that their names were listed in the first book of the New Testament.  It’s as if He was saying, “Hey, I still used them even though they made bad choices.” He will still use me when I make bad choices and He will still use you. Will you let Him?

5 thoughts on “A Scar On The Family Tree”

  1. struggling right now…and feeling very worthless…this was EXACTLY the message I needed this morning. thank you for sharing.

  2. I love this first chapter. I like to think that the reason Boaz was so kind and so tender and so sweet and willing to accept Ruth (Moabitess) was because he knew first hand what a woman like that would go through in Israel….

  3. this is something i had an aha moment about flipping back and forth from Samuel and Matthew and looking at charts in the back of my bible. I left scratching my head, but never “studied” it beyond that…I am SO glad you broke it down here. I just kept thinking…it couldn’t be….

    when i look back at my failings, I can feel like I “miss out” on God’s plan. Yet, God’s plan will clearly prevail, even in the thicket of our sin. “What man means for evil, God works for good.”

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