January 18 – Today’s Readings – Matthew 1-2 and Psalms 18
Did you notice that there are five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus and that all of them were women who suffered from shame, gossip, disrepute, feeling like an outsider and being publicly accused of sinning! No other woman is specifically mentioned – only Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, and Mary.
You remember Tamar? (Genesis 38:25-30) She deliberately slept with her father-in- law, and her patriarch father-in-law Judah was more guilty than she was.
How about Rahab? (Joshua 6:17) She was the town prostitute who lived under the constant hateful eye of every woman within miles.
Then there was Ruth. (Ruth 4:13) She was a citizen of one of Israel’s most despised enemies, the Moabites. When she came to town, they couldn’t stop talking about “that foreigner”.
In second Samuel 11:27 we find Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. – She was the one who was unfaithful to her hero husband and indirectly caused his death.
Finally there is Mary who was engaged to a fine Jewish carpenter named Joseph. There was one problem, however, – she was pregnant – and not by him!
There were obviously a lot of other wonderful and godly “Jewish” women in the genealogy of Jesus, but God singled out those with questionable reputations – those who were real examples to us of having faced tremendous adversity or even death at the hands of their community because of their reputation. These wonderful women seem to have a very special place in God’s heart even though some were “sinners” who turned to God later in life and some were rejected and completely misunderstood.
This passage outlines a “truth” about God that is astounding. Why would God choose an ordinary disreputable woman to bear His son? Why would Jesus then choose run-of-the-mill men and “sinners” to be the twelve Apostles – ordinary guys who would turn the world upside down for God’s glory? Paul the Apostle says; “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27)
God seems to specialize in “ordinary” people – not superstars. He says, “Blessed are the poor in heart” because, it seems; only these kinds of people can really see God.
1. If God chose “disreputable” men and women to accomplish great things for Him in the past, who do you suppose He wants to use now?
2. Comment on how your home church would change if all believers said “yes” to God the way these outcast women in the Bible did.