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Hope for the Broken

March 30, 2011

An neglected, abused,  forgotten wife.

An influential courtesan.

A poor foreigner.

A heartbroken adultress.

An unwed teenage mother.

From Matthew 1:

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

… Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,

… Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

… Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

… David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

… and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Five women, chosen by God, noted  in Scripture, mothers in the genealogy of the Messiah.   I’ve read their stories and often wondered about the details we don’t find in the Bible.   How did they feel?  Were they judged for actions and even situations they did not have full control of?   What moved them into the type of faith that earned them mention in the patriarchal recording of Christ’s ancestors?   And why did the Lord choose these women, most with checkered pasts that would make great Lifetime movies?

Tamar’s story is found in Genesis 38. Take time to read the account of her life … of the manner in which she was treated by the men in her life, of the extent she was willing to go to fulfill her obligation to bear a child for her husband Er.  In the end, Judah says, “She is more righteous than I” (v. 26).

Rahab, the brave prostitute who risked her own life to save the two spies, became the wife of Salmon.   She was spared and was able to save her whole family because she recognized the power of God. “I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you” (Joshua 2:9).  Because of her faith, she was saved and she became the mother of a true manly man, Boaz, who we have learned so much about this month.

Next is Ruth, our beautiful example of biblical femininity.   Ruth is the only woman in Scripture described as virtuous using the same word as given in Proverbs 31:10. Faithful beyond the call of duty, submissive with a gracious heart, Ruth was honored by these words of Boaz, “May the Lord repay you for what you have done.  May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge”  (Ruth 2:12).  {I often wonder if Ruth had the opportunity to know Rahab and what their relationship was like … sharing in the blessing of being grafted into the chosen people of God.}

Bathsheba’s story breaks my heart. Summoned to the palace, she was undoubtedly not really at liberty to say no to the king.  Did she love Uriah?  Based on Uriah’s words to David, he was obviously a man of integrity.  {Read the whole story in 2 Samuel 11 – 12.}  How did she feel when she found she was pregnant?  When Uriah was killed?  Was it difficult to move into the palace surrounded by people who knew what had happened?   She buried a husband and then she buried a child.  The Bible says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her.  They gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon.  The Lord loved him” (2 Samuel 12:24). I imagine that knowing the Lord loved Solomon was great comfort to Bathsheba, an assurance of the Lord’s love and mercy to her.

No woman is named in the genealogy through the years of the divided kingdom, the captivity, and the interbiblical period.   The next woman we find was hardly a women … likely a girl 14 or 15 years years old, in Luke we meet Mary.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, whose faith is summed up in a short sentence spoken to an angel, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Mary raised the boy who, at twelve, participated in discussions with the teachers in the Temple.  Mary watched her son turn water into wine and then embark on a journey that would lead to rejection by His family and ultimately a cross where He bore the weight of all sin.  Mary prepared His body for burial … and I wonder, as she wrapped Him in cloths, did she long for the night, 33 years before when she had wrapped a newborn baby in similar strips of cloth?  Mary who knew her son was not only hers but also HIS … the Son of God.   But did she really understand?

These five women offer us hope … that God chooses the broken, the betrayed, the foreign, the fallen.  Perhaps you feel unloved, unworthy, unusable, unneeded.   Read over the stories of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary and know that just as He used them, He will use you.

Which of these five women do you most connect with?   How do their stories encourage you?

{May I recommend reading Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers?  This compilation of her five novellas written about the women we have just discussed is a beautiful way to consider their stories in light of Scripture and the context of the times.}

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2011 10:58 pm

    Oh, I think that I have a little bit of everyone of them in me. They all give encouragement and comfort to me. All of us have a past, some just have worse ones than others. But we all are sinners, saved by grace, in need of a Savior. I’m reminded by their lives that if I choose to live for God, my children, and my grandchildren, are also in the lineage of the Lord.

  2. March 31, 2011 1:09 am

    Just beautiful. These women, their hearts for God, their circumstances surrounded by God’s love, God’s grace – all of it is beautiful.

    As for which of these women I connect with, I can’t really compare my past to their pasts, but I do connect with a little of each of them in character. But, I do definitely feel unworthy – and then so thankful for God welcoming me and boldly (I hope) using me in His ministry anyway.

    • March 31, 2011 12:31 pm

      Yes, Caroline, such a beautiful promise for each of us … no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done, the Cross is sufficient.

  3. March 31, 2011 6:55 am

    Good word, Teri Lynne. I’m currently in the middle of a Bible study with some very broken and wounded ladies, so this is a great reminder that our past does not negate God’s ability to use us. God can bring fruit from our lives no matter how we’ve been treated or what sins we have committed in our past. I’m going to share this post with then…and I pray they will see hope in the lives of these women in Scripture.

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  1. Ruth Recap « Scripture Dig

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