Introduction | The Christmas story begins with Jesus’ family tree. And over these next few weeks of Advent, we are looking more closely at the four women highlighted in Jesus’ lineage as recorded by Matthew in his gospel: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham…” (Matthew 1:1). If you’re new to this devotional, we encourage you to read the Introduction to this series that explains both the structure and purpose of Matthew’s genealogy. The overall focus of this devotional is addressed as well. You can find the Introduction to this devotional series by clicking here.
Reflection | by Megan Williams
We all have that crazy uncle, or maybe that cousin we don’t talk to, or how about the person in our family known as the “black sheep”. The thing about family is no matter how “perfect” the family may seem on Facebook or Christmas family photos each year, there is always a bit of dysfunction.
Jesus’s own family line was no different. He didn’t choose to come from a family without problems. He came from a family line filled with liars, thieves, the usual crazy uncles, and even an outcast prostitute. That’s right, a prostitute.
As we see in Matthew 1, the genealogy of Christ has so many faces we recognize like Abraham, Jacob, and King David. It also has Ruth, who married Boaz. When we read Ruth’s story we tend to associate Naomi as her only mother-in-law. However, Ruth does remarry Boaz and gets Rahab as a new mother-in-law.
There would be no Boaz to marry Ruth and continue the line if Rahab hadn’t tied a scarlet cord to the window of her house. Wait what? Let’s talk about that some more.
Rahab was a prostitute who lived in Jericho. Now back then being a prostitute was less about living a sinful life as it was more of a desperate way for a woman to provide for her family. But Rahab did what she had to do to provide for her family’s needs. She might have felt completely hopeless. She had little to look up towards.
But when the two spies show up to Rahab’s house things changed for her.
The King of Jericho found out about the spies and sent a message to Rahab to bring out the men who were sent there to spy. She however, hid them on the roof. She later told the spies that she had heard of the Lord drying up the Red Sea and how the Lord destroyed the Israelites enemies. She said to them “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11).
She had hope in God. She believed that the God of Abraham did indeed take care of the persecuted and enslaved outcasts. The Lord fought for them and let them live! She believed in that hope! She trusted in faith that their God is the true God that would indeed see her, hear her, and free her.
After she diverted the men who were pursuing the spies, she asked the spies to show her family kindness. She asks for a sure sign that her entire family would be spared from death when the Lord gave them the land. They agreed and told her to tie a scarlet cord in the window and have the entire family inside that house to be protected. So she did what they asked and in the end her entire family’s lives were spared.
Rahab was full of faith and stepped out, risking her life because she trusted in the God of Israel. If this chosen outcast had not done what she had done, there would be no Boaz to marry Ruth and continue the line of David.
I don’t know about you, but it is humbling to know that God gives redemption and new life to everyone. No matter what our past or our labels can be, we are in His family. There is definitely dysfunction in our families, but Jesus calls the outcasts and then He changes our names to sons and daughters. We get to rejoice in the imperfection of our family knowing that we have a perfect Father who takes such great delight in His children and uses us to further His kingdom.
Consider & Discuss |
- How would you feel if you were Rahab in this situation?
- Have you ever felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to step out of your comfort zone? If so, what did that look like?
- What ways do you reach out to the social outcasts of today? How do you show them kindness?
- What is God challenging you to do during this season of Advent?
Prayer Focus |
My prayer is for us to be more like Rahab. Let us trust in the Lord fully. Let us show kindness and be shown kindness. Let this Advent season be one of redemption and new life given to us all!
Thank you for family. Thank you that you include us all in yours. Help us show kindness to everyone we think of or encounter along the way. Help give us a humble and gentle spirit. Give us the wisdom and patience to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Be with those that feel alone and isolated. Help us to reach out and be inclusive to them. Wrap your loving arms around us all. Help us be more like Rahab. Thank you that we too can step out in faith. It not only affects us but affects others which then affects others and so on. What a beautiful picture.
Thank you Lord for your Faithfulness! It endures forever and is given freely to us all!
In Your Name,
– Megan Williams