Monthly Archives: November 2016

Who’s in your family tree?




Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Matthew 1:3, 5-6, 16
Who begat who:  genealogy is defined by Wikipedia as “a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor.”   “Combing through the birth records and genealogies” is a pastime of many and reveals some things we might have rather left unknown.  We all have “skeletons in our closet” with some less than perfect if not downright shady characters.  I sure have some in my background: alcohol abuse, illegitimate births, divorcees’, a preacher, Irishmen, merchant seamen, housewives, German, teachers, orphans, nurses, bouncers, master carpenters, Swedes, high school dropouts, a mean, crotchety great, grandmother, a grandfather with a wandering eye, and who knows what else I might find if I dig long enough.  But, thanks be to God, Jesus died to save them all!!!  I am the progeny of these earthlings and I owe a great deal to each of them!  I watched my own father, twice married before he found my mother, stop drinking, smoking, gambling, and for the most part swearing all in one night as he turned his life over to Christ for redemption and forgiveness.  I learned just prior to my own sweet Mamma’s death that she was conceived out of wedlock:  a fact she herself did not know until her own beautiful Mama passed away and she found a birth certificate, a marriage certificate and the dates could tell no lies.  These three people, my Mamma, Daddy, and Mamma Mae are my three greatest role models of faith!  Not because of all they did wrong but for the ONE decision they got right—accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Each took time out to seek salvation and it was graciously given, and each became a sinner saved by grace and a picture of a repentance renovation.   I really do not have a family tree, it is more of a wandering Kudzu vine!  Vance Havner writes, “God uses broken things.  It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength.”    I Corinthians 1:27 tells us “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;“

Jesus had a few shady souls in His family tree.  He was not a pure Jew, with only priestly blood flowing in His holy veins.  Nope, his DNA was a bit tainted by heritage.  He was human!  We know what His 23andMe would show!   In Matthew’s gospel, Matthew lists the family lineage starting at the roots:  Abraham and Sarah.  In this list of grandparents is one named Rahab, a prostitute and also an Amorite, not a Jew!  Why did she become a prostitute?  In ancient Biblical times, widows were often unable to make a living and resorted to this occupation to support themselves and their children.  We are not told the why, only this is her current situation.  One of the “losers” of society.  An outcast among respectable people.  She may even have been a prostitute in the temple.  She lived in the city of Jericho; the walled city Joshua sent spies into just before God brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down!  Joshua sent spies into the city and where did they end up?  Just where most soldiers go on furlough—a bar/brothel.  What better place to gather intel and scope out the enemy’s weaknesses.   In the course of their covert “fact finding mission” it was discovered they were within the city and this “lady of the evening” showed great hospitality and mercy and hid them from those who would seek to put their heads on a platter.  The Amorites were known to be ruthless and according to Rahab the entire city was petrified of the Israelites because  God’s activity for and protection of the Israelites was widely known.   Instead of acting out of fear, Rahab proceeded with great courage.

Rahab then demonstrated what was in her heart:  repentance and desire for salvation for her family!  Rahab strikes a deal with the spies and guarantees the safety of herself and her family when the Israelites, who will gain a resounding victory, come into the city.  She knew the Jewish God was a MIGHTY God and she knew He was her only hope of survival.  (Joshua 2) She stood in the gap for her family.

Rahab was rescued as was her family.  A scarlet cord was the sign of protection.  There is a scarlet thread that runs from Genesis to Revelation and this cord is tied to each who claims Christ as Savior and He will lead us HOME.

Rahab went to live among the Israelites and married one of the spies, a prince from the tribe of Judah, Salamon.   Her sin was covered in the eyes of the God because of her sacrifice.  Rahab became the great grandmother of King David, the shepherd/warrior king:  The man after God’s own heart, father of Solomon the wisest king.   Rahab could have boasted about these things but I suspect it was tempered with the facts of David’s and Solomon’s as well as her own poor choices in life.   A prostitute who became a princess.  She understood brokenness.

Are you struggling because your life has been less than perfect?  Can I tell you, you are not alone!!!  No one is without guilt–no, not one!  Some sins are covered up better than alcohol, prostitution, gluttony, or murder, but, moaning, groaning, griping and complaining are also called abominations!  Attitude sins are harder to recognize because they are excused away and there is no penal code for “belly aching.”

In the Midrash,  Rahab is described as one of the most beautiful women to have ever lived.  She is listed with Sarah, Abigail, and Esther.  Not shabby company!  She had a beautiful heart.  She became a “paragon of virtue.”  It is NEVER too late to trust Christ and let Him change your life!  Remember, there was even a thief who had only a few hours left to live and it was not too late.  (Luke 23:32-43)  Jesus is not interested in what you can do for Him!  He is interested in what He has already done for you.  He just wants to save you from destruction.  Later, He may ask you to join Him in something He is doing, but for now, all He wants for His birthday is your heart.  Rahab is called the “whore with the heart of gold.”    No, her past was never forgotten.   We wish our past could be forgotten.  It is our past that keeps us remembering all Christ has done for us!  It keeps us humble and eternally grateful.

Never be ashamed of your heritage or your testimony. (Acts 17:26)  God uses each of us to shape and mold the lives of others. (Luke 8:39) He makes foreigners, family.  He makes sinners, saints.  He is redeeming our past and giving us a future we cannot even begin to wrap our minds around.   If a prostitute and a Amorite can find a place in the family of Jesus, your family too can be saved!  Do not give up.  Have faith like Rahab.  You too can move from the “red light district” to Buckingham Palace.  All you need do is ask and believe.  This is what Rahab the harlot did.  (John 6:37)

Psalm 51:16-17 sums it up this way, “16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.   17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  Orphans of God  Avalon

Treaders with eyes on Jesus