"The book of the ancestry of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, 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 Aram. Aram the father of Aminadab, Adminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab."
Matthew 1: 1-5
"Our View – His View?" Part II
"You called us all to You
And like moths round a flame,
How we timidly flew
While we first learned Your name;
We hung back and trembled,
At the pain we might share;
But found, once assembled,
We were safe in Your care;
The circle drawn round You
Wakes the barriers to move,
As we see each one's face
In the light of Your love;
Through Your suffering You healed
Our division and pain,
Through Your dying You sealed a community's name."
Do I believe God loves and accepts me just as I am?
"Heavens! Whatever possesses us, here below, that we mutually torment ourselves, sourly reproach our mutual faults, and mercilessly condemn all that is not cut according to our pattern?"
"Alas! We give our own coloring to the actions of others."
L. E. Landon
I've always skipped right over those parts of the Bible that contain long lists of people or events. Frankly, they bored me. I didn't find anything in any of these lists, or so I thought at the time, that was uplifting or devotional in nature. That is until I began to "really study" as I worked on the content of the Daily Devotionals here at Transformation Garden. All of a sudden, lists became important, whether they were lists of duties, jobs or most importantly, people.
This is why our devotional today begins with Matthew 1, a chapter in the Bible that contains the "begats," a list of relatives. A list of people who are connected.
Yesterday, we read in Joshua where the children of Israel, while benefiting from the generous, kindness of Rahab, decided she wasn't part of their "in crowd" so they kept her, and her family, "outside the camp." A convenient reminder that "you can come with us but you aren't part of us."
Well, guess what? God had a different idea about Rahab, His daughter. Anyone who knew God as well as Rahab did, was not someone God wanted left on the outside. In fact, God had an idea so great and grand for Rahab, it's almost impossible to understand or believe.
This is why I began our devotional today with Matthew 1.
When the King of the Universe, our Father in Heaven, so very graciously sent His Son to this earth as a baby, He could have picked out any family tree to carry the lineage of His Beloved. Wouldn't you have wanted your "only begotten" to have come from the best family planet earth had to offer? I would have. Don't we all want the best for our children?
But if you look at the begats in Matthew, which carry the lineage of Jesus, you scratch your head and wonder, "Did God do His research?"
Let's look at a few of the names, beginning with Tamar. Remember her? We studied her life for a week. She was the daughter-in-law of Judah who played the role of a prostitute. Judah, one of God's chosen, got her pregnant, then he wanted to have Tamar stoned because she was "defiled," only to find out he was the father of the baby. Oops! And believe it or not, Jesus arrived on earth with both Judah and Tamar in His family tree. Then there were Lot's daughters, who had incestuous relations with their father, and from the offspring of these relationships, the nation of Moab resulted. And yes, Ruth, the Moabitess, a descendent of the Lot and daughter mess, was also part of Jesus' family. So was David, the adulterer and murderer. And his son, Solomon who was a serial philanderer. And last but not least, Rahab the harlot, was part of Jesus' lineage. God didn't tell Rahab her past disqualified her from His plan for her future. On the contrary, Rahab's reputation and past history had absolutely no effect on God's future plans for her – plans that included His Son as part of her family.
Not only was Rahab included in God's plan, she was part of His Son's bloodline. The God she "knew" was the God she was "related" to. Don't forget, she called Him "Dad" and He called her "Daughter."
What a fabulous story of hope. For anytime, anyone belittles you because of your past, ignore them. Anytime, anyone makes fun of your family heritage, ignore them. And anytime, anyone says, "You're not good enough," ignore them. If God chose Tamar, Ruth, and Rahab as part of His family tree, you know He's included you, too!
The other day I was sitting on a bench and the beautiful aroma of a honeysuckle bush was carried by the wind around me. It filled the air until I couldn't smell anything else at all. Author Marie de France wrote: "With the two of them it was just as it is with the honeysuckle that attaches itself to the hazel tree: when it has wound and attached and worked itself around the trunk, the two survive together; but if someone tries to separate them, the hazel dies quickly."
This is the beautiful relationship Rahab had with her Father. Embraced in His arms, His life infused her with the aroma of love. No longer kept "outside the camp," Rahab moved inside God's home, with a room that said, "Daughter of the Most High."
"We seldom stop to think how many peoples' lives are entwined with our own. It is a form of selfishness to imagine that every individual can operate on (her) own or can pull out of the general stream and not be missed."
"O God Eternal, good beyond all that is good, fair beyond all that is fair, in whom is calmness and peace: reconcile the differences which divide us from one another and bring us back into the unity of love which may bear some likeness to your divine nature. Grant that we may be spiritually one, both within ourselves and with one another, through the grace, mercy and tenderness of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen"
Worship Resources- Year B