Blog Post

Singled Out For Grace

The Word

Matthew 1:1-16

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, ……………..5Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife……………….16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

 

The Messagegrace_candle_logo

I have read the entire Bible a couple of times. There are some parts of the Bible that are difficult to read. Try Leviticus. It IS a tough read. God appears so mean. Today’s text is also one such part. I practically rush through all the names then start to read the book from Verse 17.

Recently though, I got an assignment from this text. We were to write out the 14 names in each generation. The last batch only had 13 names. Because I never paid attention, I always assumed they were all fourteen. We then learnt that I, Chinwe am the 14th name. Because I am in Jesus, He begat me. I, Chinwe, we, the Body of Christ complete the genealogy. That tripped me. Something actually came out of this text.

However a few days later, another preacher, this time a woman, read from the same text. She talked about the women who were emphasized in the text. They were women (Tamar, Rahab and Ruth and Bathsheba) who ordinarily would not get attention from the Holy God, but He took them in anyway, right into His genealogy.

I decided to read the text again for myself. And God blew me away. Every time we hear the word grace, we tend to think of it as a New Testament phenomenon. But as I read through this text, all I could see was grace, God’s unmerited favor. He has always dealt with man in grace from the very beginning.

When God revealed Himself to Abraham, he was a heathen idol worshiper, totally undeserving of His attention, yet He drew him in. He seems to delight in going against the status quo. Isaac should not have been heir. He was the second son, but He pronounced him the son of promise.

Jacob should not have been first in line, but by some stroke of providence and a lot of assistance from Rebekkah, he became heir and God sanctioned it. I have often asked myself what would have happened if Rebekkah did not pull her stunts. If I know God, He would have done exactly what He wanted to do.

Then Jacob has children and one would expect that he would correct the anomalies, but He does it again, skips first and second sons and lands at Judah the third son. Then Judah has three sons who all die and he unknowingly sleeps with his daughter-in-law who posed as a prostitute and there goes God again, she gets pregnant and has Perez and Zerah, who get into His genealogy. Amazing grace.

Then He goes to Jericho and singles out this high class prostitute who lived on the wall and grafts her in-a heathen woman of questionable character. This just before He goes to Moab and grafts Ruth in, another heathen woman. Ruth is actually David’s great grandmother. More grace.

Then David becomes the powerful king God had always told him he would become. But he was the least likely to be king of his brothers. There were seven sons before him. In fact the day he was anointed for kingship, his father did not even call him to the line. That is how insignificant he was in family affairs. He just tended sheep. That was where God picked him up from and made him king. How awesome is our God.

Then in David’s story he made one huge mistake. He could not get past Bathsheba. He had to have her. He killed her husband to have her. He just would not let her go. Did she have much choice in the entire arrangement. I don’t think so. She must have been overwhelmed by his interest in her. He eventually married her after the entire messy affair and her son, Solomon,  became king after David.

He had several sons before Solomon, yet that was who God chose. He even messed up, 300 wives and 700 concubines, but he was king. That is what God’s grace looks like.

In all this I paused and looked at Rahab more closely. She lived on the wall, she was a prostitute. She welcomed the spies and hid them and helped them escape. But she got a deal simply because she did what she did. I realized that she must have been praying for God to come and get her and her family. She knew His wrath was coming on her people. She waited for His salvation and as soon as she saw it, she grabbed it.

Why do I think so? She added no value whatsoever to the process. She did not give them information that helped their cause. She did not tell them any national secrets that made any difference. All that happened was that she met the spies and made a deal with them. Then helped them escape. The only person who gained from that visit was Rahab. They did not need to meet her to win the battle in Jericho.

What that tells me is that God actually went into Jericho just to answer the cries of a prostitute who dared to believe that He could save her, despite her. What would have happened if the spies did not go into Jericho? They would have killed everybody, including Rahab and her family. But because they went in there, met her and made that deal, she was saved.

Does that look like coincidence? Not to me. It was a God orchestrated moment designed to save Rahab and en graft her into Him. That was what the entire thing was about, saving Rahab. How did Israel defeat Jericho? The walls simply came tumbling down and the people became bread before them. God did not need the spies to go in there. They simply went to put a mark on her to exempt her from the wrath to come. Simply awesomely amazing God.

I looked at myself and suddenly realized that my salvation was also a carefully orchestrated plan of God, perfectly executed to graft me into Himself. I look at my life and realize there were lots of coincidences, near misses, suddenly changed decisions that could only have been Him making sure that I ultimately get into Him. Like the Christian neighbors we had when I was a little girl. They were my first encounter with believers. Or our housekeeper who read the Bible to us as kids. Or my Father changing his mind about what school I should go to for secondary school at the last minute. Or the lecturer who mercifully gave me a C when I should have got a D, and I would not have graduated from university. Or my friends who practically adopted me and showed me how family should be.  Or the relationship that broke up just after the first time I answered an altar call. The list is endless but they all culminated into my running into His loving arms when I was 23.

What can I say? I am simply glad He bothered. I have absolutely no regrets. I am simply a recipient of His grace, completely unmerited favor. I have seen Him overturn decisions for me, give me things that I did not deserve, do the impossible simply to bless me. I cannot say I have seen it all but I have seen enough to know His grace is endless. I realize I will always be on the receiving end of His grace. That is the safest place to be, knowing that nothing can ever separate me from His love.

Someone reading this piece may feel dejected, unwanted and alone. There is one Person who will move mountains, who actually died just to show you how much you matter to Him. Allow Him in so that you can experience His grace. No one comes into His embrace and has any regrets. Trust me, He loves all the way. I testify that he is good all the time, all the way. On Him you can depend and never worry. I testify. Ck