Matthew 1:3a Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar
Matthew 1:5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth.
Matthew 1:6b David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.
Yesterday, our church lost an iconic figure. Mrs. Roberta Balch left this world to take up residence in her permanent dwelling place in heaven. I bet she is sitting at the feet of Jesus this very moment. I didn’t know Mrs. Roberta extremely well, but I knew her enough to know that she was a godly woman and that she loved the Lord. This was easily noted by looking at the children that she raised. I’ve attended church with her daughters Lila and Bernice. Lila shares scripture daily to friends and family on social media, and Mrs. Bernice sings praises with the voice of an absolute angel. Her son, Donald, preached a sermon at our church recently. Yes, you can tell that Mrs. Roberta was a woman of the Word through the life she lived and the children she raised. She leaves behind a legacy of love for the Lord, strength, and endurance. I know that her family is grieving her loss at this moment, but I know that they have peace knowing she is in the arms of our Savior. What a legacy Mrs. Roberta left behind!
When we study scripture, we seem to remember the male figures of the Bible. This is quite natural because there are so many important male figures discussed in scripture. However, we can’t forget the women of the Word. They were pretty important too. In fact, when Matthew listed the genealogy leading up the birth of Christ, Matthew felt that four women were important enough to list by name (with the exception of Bathsheba…he just called her Uriah’s wife). He called out Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba.
Tamar was married to the son of Judah, Er. Er was evil in the Lord’s sight, and He took his life. The responsibility for Tamar to bear a son was left to Judah’s younger son, Onan. He refused to have a child with Tamar, and wasted his seed. The Lord took his life too. Tamar was left childless, and Judah didn’t give his son Shelah to her as promised. It was kind of understandable as it seemed she had caused the death of his two other sons. Tamar decided to take things into her own hands, and she posed as a prostitute and tricked Judah into relations with her. This union produced twins Perez and Zerah. Ironically, out of the bloodline of Perez came David and later Jesus Christ.
Next, Matthew mentions Rahab. Rahab, a prostitute of the Canaanite city of Jericho, is known for helping the Israelites defeat the pagan city of Jericho and for her place in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Rahab’s story begins during the invasion of the city of Jericho by the Israelites. She protected the Israelite spies as they were checking out the city of Jericho, and she was remembered by the Israelites and her family was protected. Ultimately, Rahab married Salmon, an Israelite from the tribe of Judah. Her son was Boaz, the husband of Ruth.
Ruth is mentioned next. I love the redemptive story of Ruth. She lost her husband, but instead of returning to her own people, she followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, to her home family. She caught the attention of Boaz, and he redeemed her and made her his wife. He didn’t have to marry her. There actually was another kinsman who could have redeemed her, but it was like a story of love at first sight. Boaz wanted to marry Ruth, and he ended up taking her as his wife. From this marriage eventually came a descendant, Joseph, who was the earthly, adoptive father of Jesus.
Finally, Matthew mentions Uriah’s wife. I giggle when I read this. He called out by name a woman who pretended to be a prostitute to conceive with Judah, and he called out by name a prostitute, but he doesn’t acknowledge Bathsheba by name. Yes, Bathsheba and David messed up big time. David was strolling on his roof one night, and he looked over and saw a beautiful woman bathing. He decided that he had to have this woman, and he summoned her. Shortly after, he learned that she was pregnant. David tried to cover up his mistake. He decided he would have Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, come home from the battlefield. They could get together, and then all would appear to be okay. However, the plan fell through when Uriah refused to go home while his counterparts continued to risk their life in battle. After two attempts to “reunite” the married couple failed, David sent word to put Uriah on the frontline in the fierce battle so that he might be killed. After Uriah died, David took Bathsheba as his wife. The son that they had conceived out of wedlock died, but then came Solomon who was know as the greatest king ever.
All of these women have something in common. They are grandmothers in the family tree of Jesus. They were not all wonderful examples of godly women. They made mistakes, and their mistakes were recorded for the whole world to read. They had affairs outside of marriage. Two prostituted themselves. They lied. They cheated. They messed up big time, yet God picked them to be part of the greatest story ever told! He chose these four broken women to be part of the lineage of Christ! Each woman left her mark on this world. Each woman left a legacy behind that led to the birth of the King. We may not all feel like we are living the godly life or the example that was set by Mrs. Roberta, but as children of the King, God has given us His name. We are the children of God. He has given us His lineage. We are adopted sons and daughters of the King. Most importantly, He has given us the gift of salvation which has made us right with The Father.
I look back on my own life, and I see the many times that if messed up royally. I’m so very thankful that my biggest life mistakes were not recorded for the entire world to read in the most read and printed book of all time, but even if they were, it wouldn’t matter. All that matters is that I have been made right with the Father. I have been adopted into the family of God. I am His child. He is my Father. I pray that the legacy I am leaving behind reveals that I am a child of God. That’s all that really matters! Be a woman (or man) of the Word! Don’t just read the Word. You have to live it! What kind of legacy are you leaving behind?