God is intentional in all that He does. Nothing is by accident or happenstance. He carefully chose each of the women in the lineage of Jesus for a purpose. What was His purpose? What can we learn from the women He chose to be in the lineage of His son?
Eve was the first woman created by God in the image of God. He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave them free reign. They had everything they needed, but it wasn’t enough for Eve. She wanted more.
She listened to the serpent, ignoring the warning from God. As a result of her disobedience, she and Adam were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and forced to work and struggle in their roles as man and wife. Eve’s sin brought on pain and suffering. But it was after her failure that Adam named her Eve because she was the mother of all living.
God allowed Eve to bear two sons then one of them killed the other. How devastated she must have been. But God blessed her with another son who provided new hope.
Like Eve, we start life full of hope and promise. We have big plans for our future. Then we mess up. Sometimes, we lose it all. But despite God’s discipline, He still loves us and uses us. He gave Eve a second chance by allowing her to be the mother of all living. Even when her one son killed her other son, He gave her new hope in a third son, then many other children.
God shows us through Eve the role we are to play as women. We are to be helpmeets, nurturers, life givers. Eve’s story reminds us that God forgives.
Not much information is given to us about Noah’s wife. We know that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Though all around him evil men were living in darkness, Noah followed God. When God told him the world would be destroyed by a flood, Noah listened. When God said build an ark, He followed instructions. When God said get on the boat with your family and all the animals, Noah led them all aboard.
The Bible makes no mention of Mrs. Noah resisting, so we can assume when Noah told her what God said, she accepted it. When Noah built an ark, she supported him. And when Noah said, “all aboard,” she climbed into the ark along with her sons and their wives. While the rains poured and the ark floated along, she took care of her family, and when they disembarked from the ark, she worshipped God.
We all dream of doing great things and receiving recognition for what we do, but sometimes our role is to remain quietly in the shadows and serve without acknowledgement. Mrs. Noah married a godly man. God called Noah to do a great thing. As Noah’s helpmeet, his wife was there for support and encouragement. Most importantly, she followed him into the ark despite her fears and any hesitation. She also must have had a special relationship with her daughters-in-law so that they were willing to hop aboard as well.
Mrs. Noah had no idea what her future held, but she trusted God to provide for her and her family when they entered the ark. We, too, need to have that blind faith, willing to step into the unknown and trust God to deliver us to safety.
God gave Abraham a promise that he would be a great nation. As Abraham’s wife, Sarah assumed she would be the mother of many, but for reasons she didn’t understand, God didn’t bless Sarah with children. Instead, He allowed her to grow old and barren. Anxious to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham, Sarah took it upon herself to provide children for her husband through her maidservant Hagar. When God made a promise to her, she laughed.
God chose Sarah as the mother of the Hebrew nation though she was long past childbearing age. Despite her and Abraham’s many failures, he saw in them something worthy to be recognized. He changed Sarah’s name from Sarai, which meant “princess” to Sarah, which meant “noblewoman”. He saw in her the potential to be a great and noble woman.
What a mess Sarah made in her efforts to take over for God. Despite her disbelief, God chose Sarah to be the mother of a nation.
Like Sarah, we often get tired of waiting for God’s promises. We tend to take matters into our own hands, and in the process, make a giant mess. We lose faith and doubt God’s word. We can take comfort, however, in knowing that God’s plans never waver. If He says He’ll do something, He’ll do it. Though His timing may be far longer than we expect, He will see it through, despite our failed efforts.
Rebekah was going about her daily business when a stranger approached her with a request for water. Though she could have ignored him or denied his request, instead she went beyond, offering water not only to the servant, but his camels as well. As a result of her thoughtfulness, she became an answer to prayer and the wife of Isaac.
At first Rebekah was barren, but Isaac prayed for children, and God answered his prayer with twins. Unfortunately, the loving couple grew divided as Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. Like Sarah, Rebekah took matters into her own hands and deceived her husband in order to bless her favored son.
We see in Rebekah’s early life a willingness to follow God even if it meant leaving home and going with a stranger. She brought love and comfort to her husband until she had children. Then she got her priorities mixed up.
Because Rebekah tricked Isaac into giving Jacob his blessing rather than Esau, Jacob was forced to leave home for his safety. In her efforts to bless her son, she lost him. We need to learn from her experience and not get ahead of God. Despite her failure, though, God used her actions to deliver Jacob to her homeland where his new life was waiting.
Leah was not Jacob’s first choice of brides, but through her father’s manipulation, she became an unloved sister bride. God saw her situation and blessed her with sons and a daughter. Her husband disappointed her. Her children failed her. But God was faithful to her. He chose her, rather than her sister Rachel, to be a part of the lineage of Jesus. She lived past Rachel, and when she died, it was Leah, not Rachel, buried next to Jacob.
Like Leah, we may feel unloved and unappreciated. Our families may let us down. The world might ignore us. But God sees our situation and provides what we need. He loves and values us and saves a special place for us among His chosen people.
The story of Tamar and her efforts to secure her role as a mother in the lineage of Christ reads like a modern day soap opera
Tamar was a Canaanite woman who married the wicked son of Judah. When God killed Er, Judah gave her to Onan, but Onan was evil, too, and God killed him as well. Judah promised her to his youngest son, but told her to wait. Then he conveniently forgot his promise. This left Tamar a childless widow with no hope for the future, so Tamar took matters into her own hands.
What does it say about Judah’s character that Tamar knew she could entice him if she dressed as a prostitute? She guessed correctly, and she ended up conceiving a child with her father-in-law.
Did Tamar know that Judah was destined to be in the lineage of Jesus? How could she? Judah was neither the oldest son nor a favored son. We see little indication of him being a godly man, and yet God chose him for the coveted position. Tamar was not a Hebrew, but God must have seen in her traits that would make her a good mother.
Like Tamar, we may be an outsider. Our lives may not have turned out the way we expected. But God sees in us value. He plucks us out of the crowd and uses us in ways we might never expect. He allows us to become a part of His family.
What a beautiful illustration of redemption is the story of Rahab. A pagan prostitute, she would have been the least likely candidate to be included in the lineage of Jesus, and yet, she’s there.
Tamar pretended to be a harlot. Rahab was a harlot. She came from a wicked city that worshipped pagan gods, but somehow she learned about the true God. She longed to get to know Him and to worship Him. God knew her heart and sent Jewish spies to her house. She protected those spies from her people, and they in turn, protected her from their people. They rescued her, and she joined their ranks, marrying a godly Hebrew man.
Although Rahab married a godly man, she could have easily been removed from the family records so as to eliminate the embarrassment of having a prostitute included in the family. Instead, the Bible writers wanted to make sure everyone knew she was there.
Matthew mentions her name in the genealogy leading to the birth of Jesus. The book of Hebrews includes her in the listing of heroes of faith. And James uses her as an example of faith at work.
Why did God include a woman like Rahab in the lineage of his son? So that we might better understand the extent of his saving power. If God could use a pagan prostitute, he can use anyone. May we learn from Rahab’s willingness to seek him out, risking her life in order to follow him in faith.
Rahab wasn’t raised in a godly home, but God sent godly men to her home. Whatever environment we come from, God can rescue us and bring us into his flock. Just as He gave Rahab a fresh start and a new life, He can do the same for you.
Like Tamar, Ruth was a foreign woman married to a Hebrew man. When her mother-in-law decided to move back to Bethlehem, Ruth jumped on the opportunity to get away from her pagan homeland and start a new life. She showed her gratitude to Naomi by going out to work, ending up in the field of Naomi’s kindred redeemer. Though she didn’t go out seeking a new husband, she found one and received an unexpected blessing.
God used Naomi to introduce Ruth to the one true God. Ruth had to leave the comforts of her homeland in order to receive the blessing God had in store for her. She left her old life with little expectation, but God surprised her with a future far greater than anything she could have planned for herself.
Just as Ruth served Naomi, we must be willing to serve others. It may be that God is calling you to leave behind your old life in order to receive the better life He has in store. You may have to sacrifice comforts and do uncomfortable work in order to receive the blessings. We don’t serve in order to receive, but God blesses a servant’s heart.
Bathsheba was a happily married woman minding her own business when she was called into the presence of the king. In one passionate moment, followed by his attempts to right his wrong, David destroyed all that Bathsheba had held dear. Her story could have ended there, but it didn’t.
Though Bathsheba and David’s first child died, she conceived another son who followed his father as king of Israel.
Bathsheba’s life was a roller coaster of highs and lows. She had a pleasant and comfortable life, a time of passion, a period of grieving, a lifetime of living down a scandal, and the redemption of a special relationship with both her husband and son. We, too, will go through highs and lows. At times we will be on top of the world. Other times, we’ll hit rock bottom. We’ll face unspeakable sorrow and disappointment. But through it all, God will be with us. He will never abandon us whatever we’re going through.
The Women in the Lineage of Jesus
Each of these women in the lineage of Jesus was uniquely human. They were flawed individuals, serving God to the best of their abilities. Though they faltered or fell, God redeemed them. He saw past their failures and recognized their potential. He saw in each of them something He wanted to pass along to future generations. May we find comfort and encouragement in the Bible stories of these women in the lineage of Jesus as we offer ourselves up to what God has in store for each of us.