The book of Ruth in the Old Testament tells the story of a foreign woman who places her faith in God resulting in a life directed by that faith. Though the circumstances of life remain difficult and Ruth must struggle just to provide the basic necessities of life for her and her mother-in-law, what she finds is that God’s love is not measured by the circumstances of life and no matter how hard we may try, we cannot out give God.
Joshua 2 is the story of a sinful woman, in a sinful profession, among a sinful people who, though she possesses limited knowledge of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, places her total faith in Him and is transformed by His grace. Rahab was likely the last person anyone would have thought would be saved and make such a radical life change from the city of Jericho, but through her faith, she and her family were not only saved, she becomes the great-great grandmother of King David and is included in the family tree of Jesus Christ. On two occasions in the New Testament she is commended for her faith and lifted up as an example of what faith looks life in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. That’s some legacy for a woman with a past like Rahab’s.
Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus Christ through Joseph. Though there appears to be increased interest these days in uncovering our family tree, there still seems to be a general disinterest when it comes to understanding why there are genealogies in the Scriptures. Perhaps this is related to our misunderstanding of the value of uncovering the riches of our spiritual family tree. Matthew’s genealogy records over 40 male names and 5 women. The presence of any women is unusual and would have been culturally controversial, but the presence of these 5 women borders on scandalous. For some reason God, through Matthew, included these 5 women in the genealogy of Jesus, drawing our attention to their stories found in the pages of Scripture. Through the stories of these women we learn that sometimes God works His will in the midst of the whispers of scandal, illuminating His grace.
Genesis 38 is a sad story of what happens when people live self-centered lives, that are nearly void of any concern for one another or for God. By the end of the story everyone has in some way wronged everyone else and there is not a person in sight who walks away unscathed or un-scarred by the selfish acts of themselves and others. Yet, both Judah and Tamar are included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 1. Why would God draw anyone’s attention to such a sad story? In the midst of this mess we find a truth worth treasuring, that what God purposes He will perform.
Advent is a time in which we look toward the advent of Jesus Christ. We look back toward His 1st advent with celebration and rejoicing, and we look toward His 2nd advent with anticipation. As we wait for His 2nd advent we want to wait well understanding that God has purpose in our waiting. We may wonder in our waiting if God has forgotten or is simply not taking seriously His promises, but nothing could be farther from the truth. God’s patience is a gift for humanity that allows us time to embrace the redemption that is available through His Son Jesus Christ.
Advent is a time in which we look toward the advent of Jesus Christ. We look back toward His 1st advent with celebration and rejoicing, and we look toward His 2nd advent with anticipation. As we wait for His 2nd advent we want to wait well understanding that God has purpose in our waiting. Part of that purpose is to speak to us in ways that heal our sinful brokenness and renews our resolve for carrying out His purposes for us on this earth. Elijah’s experience with God at Mount Horeb provides us with a vivid account of God speaking in the midst of waiting.
As we wait for the 2nd advent of Christ God makes the most of our waiting. He desires that our love for Jesus would grow deeper and stronger as we wait on His return. The Psalmist offers a clinic of hopeful waiting that deepens our yearning for the presence of Christ in Psalm 27.