Incredibly four women are named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, which is so unusual for this time when women were of little value. And these women had tough stories and checkered pasts. But they are not only part of God’s redemption story, their names ae preserved in God’s Word -- the most read book of all time -- for millions to read and KNOW THEM.
First up, Tamar. Tamar was married to Judah’s oldest son, Er. When Er died, the Jewish custom would have been for one of Er’s brothers to redeem her by caring for her, marrying her and having a child with her to preserve the family name. Judah doesn’t keep his promises to Tamar to provide for her so she takes matters into her own hand. She disguises herself as a prostitute and Judah takes the bait. She gets pregnant and has a child. Tamar is both the daughter-in-law of Judah and the mother of his child. Oh my!
Continuing with Jesus’ messy family tree, we meet Rahab. A prostitute from Jericho, the corrupt city God calls the Israelites to fully destroy as they begin their entry into the Promised Land.
Next up, Ruth. She was a loyal & honorable woman, but also a helpless widow and Moabite, a people hated by the Israelites.
Finally, we see Bathsheba (listed as Uriah’s wife). She had an affair with King David which resulted in David having her husband killed in battle.
Don’t be afraid to say it or think it…some of these are terrible stories. None of the evil behavior is directed or approved of by a holy God. But despite unholy people, God’s forward-looking plan continues. God still makes a beautiful pathway to our salvation, despite our actions. We don’t need to be born into the “right” family, fully understand all of the laws and customs, or even be “good enough.” We only need to step into the arms, under the wings, of the Redeemer. We are never too far away to be saved if we are willing. All things, even those not condoned by God, can be used by Him. There is no condemnation or shame for those who are in Christ Jesus. That, my friend, is Good News.