Sometimes society can make us feel unworthy and unwanted. This is not so when it comes to how God thinks of us. When we look at the genealogy of Jesus Christ, there are five women mentioned in the genealogy found in Matthew 1; Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Apart from Mary, each of them had a story to tell. According to the human eye, they would not have been mentioned in any genealogy. But God does not think like we think and nor does he do things our way. Let’s study who this women were and look at their lives.
Matthew 1:3 – Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram.
Tamar is the first woman mentioned in the genealogy. Her story starts with a one of Jacob’s son’s called Judah. Jesus came from the tribe of Judah. Judah was the fourth born. He left his home, his father and brothers and decided to stay with a Canaanite man called Hirah. He formed a friendship with him and while he was staying among the Canaanites, he married a Canaanite woman. She bore sons for him namely Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah took a wife for his first born son Er. She was called Tamar. The bible states that Er did evil in the sight of God and God killed him. As was the custom, Onan was directed to marry his brother’s widow. Because his brother and Tamar never had children, he was to get children with her in order to preserve the his brother’s name. Though Onan agreed to marry Tamar, he intentionally refused to let Tamar conceive by pouring his seed on the ground. God passed judgment and Onan died because of his wickedness. When Judah saw this, he directed Tamar to go back to her father’s home and stay there as a widow and when his son Shelah was older, he would marry her. But Judah had not intention to have his son Shelah marry Tamar because he thought she was the reason his first two sons were dead and he did not want his other son to die. As I read this part of scripture I remembered the many widows especially in Africa who have been accused of murdering their husbands and have been ostracized.
Tamar had lost her first husband and her second husband did not want her to get pregnant because he was selfish. And then her father in law sent her away and told her to stay that way as a widow until the day he sent for her. So she stayed in her mourning clothes as a widow would do in that day. One day someone told her that her father in law was going to a specific area. She removed her widow clothes and dressed like a prostitute. She then covered her face and when Judah saw her, he fell into temptation, slept with her and she conceived. Funny thing, when he was told about her being pregnant, he said that she should be burned for playing the harlot. He had forgotten his own sin. Many times we cast stones yet we have our own hidden sins.
She gave birth to twins. Perez, one of the twins is found in the line of Jesus. When we look at this scenario, we can easily judge Tamar. The fact of the matter is, God works with us even though we are so sinful. We are weak. But he is at work in each and one of us. Even though she did what she did and in our eyes would not have qualified to be in the line of Jesus. It is a reminder to us that just like her, none of us is perfect and it is important to remember we can only look at situations through the eyes of grace.
- The act that Tamar did was not an act she would have done earlier. She was married into a family unfortunately to sons who were wicked. Sometimes we don’t understand why people do what they do because we are not all knowing. We should always remember that God who knows the motives and intentions of a human he created sees everything and because he does, he knows what to do. And His grace is sufficient.
- You may be like Tamar. You have done something so wrong but I want to remind you that God sees you differently. It does not mean he did not see your sin but it means he is able to see past your sin. So you should just surrender to him and don’t let what you have done hold you back from having a fruitful growing relationship with God.
Matthew 1:5-6 – Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.
The second woman is mentioned is Rahab. She was a prostitute who lived in Jericho. I don’t know what drove her into this kind of lifestyle. For one reason or another she found herself prostituting. Not many women dream of prostituting. It is not a lifelong dream. Not many women will go on television and say they are very proud of being prostitutes. It is something people hide even when it is an open secret. For Rahab, it was a difficult life. I can imagine her walking down the road and everyone talking about her. How many women liked her? I mean, she was the one who was open to sleeping with a man. Also no man would want her. One of the things I believe that came from her trade were the many stories she would here about the God of Israel. How many men came with stories about what God had done for Israel? And in her own time, she meditated on these things that she would hear: These mighty acts that God had done. And I believe this encouraged her and gave her hope that one day, somehow that same God could get her out of the quagmire she had found herself in. One day, two men knocked her door and she answered. They told her they were there to spy the land and she hid them. When the king sent men to come and search for the spies, she lied to them. God used Rahab, in her state, to save the two men. Hebrews 11:31 states, “By faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along with those who were disobedient, because she had welcomed the spies [sent by the sons of Israel] in peace. Not only did God use her to save the two spies but it was through her that her own family was saved. Can you imagine, the least possible person, the one we would never think God would use. And then God gave her a husband in Israel and she ended up being King David’s great grandmother. By the way, she was the mother of Boaz and Boaz was a man of great character.
- Yes she was a prostitute. That was her reality. But she believed in God and it is her believe in God that got her from one of the worst positions in society to being in the line of our Lord Jesus Christ. You may be in the worst place. You may have done the worst of the worst but when you call on God, he will make a way even where there seems to be no way. He is the master way maker. You just need to call on God. It does not matter what you are in right now. All you need to do is put your hope in God and trust that he will make a way. He is a merciful and gracious God.
- Sometimes we judge people not knowing how they got there. I remember listening to a lady who had been raped and she started drinking heavily and sleeping with men. And she was judged harshly. The point is we don’t know what drives people to do the things they do. And because we don’t know, we have to avoid judging others but instead love them and pray for them. As believers, we are called to love regardless of someone’s looks’ where they are coming from and what kind of burdens they are carrying. Romans 12:16 states in the New Living Translation, “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
The third woman mentioned in the genealogy was called Ruth. We meet Ruth when an Israelite family travels to Moab to run away from the drought in Israel. This family had two sons and one of the sons married Ruth. Ruth was from Moab. The back story of moabites is not one of those stories that I would enjoy to give however it is in the bible. Moab was the son of Lot’s eldest daughter. Here was the problem. When Lot had to run away with his family from Sodom so as not to be destroyed by fire, his daughters later got him drunk and he slept with both of them. So Moab was a product of a union between a father and his daughter. This made them outcasts. Not only was that a problem, the worshipped other gods. One was called chemosh who was their national deity. They also worshipped molech which involved child sacrifices.
When Ruth’s husband’s died, her mother in law Naomi, who had decided to go back to Israel because she had heard the drought was over, asked Ruth to go back to her people. Ruth refused and in Ruth 1:16, scripture states, “But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Naomi had another daughter in law called orpah who had decided to go back to her people and her gods. This is the last time we hear of orpah because of the choice she made. But Ruth had decided regardless of the situation, she was going to cling on God. She had surrendered her life to God. She went back to Israel and worked hard to get food for them to eat. She was a poor widow who had hope in God. She did not know what was waiting for her as far as her future was concerned but she trusted in God. God provided well for her and gave her a wonderful man and she ended up in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
- Sometimes family backgrounds may seem like they would close doors for us. Some people don’t even want to say which family they come from because that family has done so many strange things. Ruth did not choose where she was born. She did not ask God to be born in a certain family at a certain time. She found herself in Moab. She found herself in a place where there was idol worship. Where child sacrifice was okay. But she happened to have met a family who had come from Israel and they did things differently and she liked what she saw and she made a choice to abandon herself to God. You may come from family known to steal. A family where people divorce. A family of devil worshippers or sorcerers. A family where people practice witchcraft and that is all you know. If God has not orchestrated yet for you to know who he is, he will. And when he does if he has not yet done it, take that step and completely abandon and surrender yourself to God. He will open doors like you have never seen and he will rescue you from whatever family curses there may be.
- Some of us look at certain families and wonder whether anything good can come from such and such family. Have you ever heard when people say leave that family alone, they are all thieves? Or all the women in that family cannot keep a husband. Etc. You see, our part is never to look at the bad things and comment on them. We should be like Naomi. She was a great influence to Ruth. It was because of how she lived and who she was that Ruth refused to leave her. If she was a bad mother in law, Ruth would not have wanted to go with her let alone abandon herself to God. Naomi played a very important role in Ruth’s life. The word of God in Matthew 5:16 states, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Through our actions, unbelievers can come to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:6 – David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.
The fourth woman mentioned is Bathsheba. Bathsheba entered into King David’s life because she was outside, naked, taking a bath while her husband was away in war. As King David was walking around his palace, he saw her and stared at her. He later called for her and they slept together and she ended up getting pregnant. It was during this time that David sent for Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, so that he could make him sleep with his wife in order to cover up his sin. But Uriah did not do anything with his wife therefore David plotted against him to be killed at war. Now, king David was punished because of this sin but because he repented and ask God to forgive him, he did not die. But they lost that child. Later God gave them a son named Solomon and that is how Bathsheba ends up in the genealogy of Christ.
Bathsheba messed up. She would have said no. She had a choice. Even if she was not directly involved in the death of her husband, she contributed to it. But can you imagine not only did her son become king over Israel but God put her in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. God’s ways are higher than ours and his thoughts are greater.
Many times we look at situations and come so short with our answers. Other times we persecute people but we ourselves have logs in our own eyes. Yesterday my husband and I were having a conversation. And he was telling me how sometimes we don’t see our wrongs because we are busy looking at others. And he gave me an example of a Christian who is smoking and when he look at a woman who has dressed inappropriately, he is so shocked that his cigarette falls off his mouth. The truth is, we all struggle and we need God to work on us.
The four women in short sentences.
Tamar – She slept with her father-in-law and got pregnant.
Rahab – She was prostitute.
Ruth – She was from Moab. Moabites were outcasts. She was a widow and poor before she got married again.
Bathsheba –She slept with King David while her husband was at war. She later became the king’s wife.
Sometimes because of our pasts, we feel unworthy and we let people and past situations define us. Do not let anyone define you or let a past situation define you. God has already defined you.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made- I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14 NKJV
God has a perfect and wonderful plan for you – For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
You are greatly loved with an everlasting love. The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV
You are very valuable – Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 NKJV
You are able to do all things by his strength – I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NASB
You have the peace of God – And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NASB
You are a conqueror – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. Romans 8:37 AMP
When you allow the Word of God to define you, you will love yourself because God loves you and he sees you as His very special child. Always remember God’s choices are out of grace and not merit. My prayer is that you will see yourself as God sees you.
Author of Hopeful Living, Trusting God to Guide you through Life
Speaker and Radio Show Host of Woman Transformed
President of Woman Transformed