As a Spirit Led Church in Kansas City, we believe that our entire lives can be led by the spirit of God. When we are being led by the Spirit of God our families even reap goodness on our behalf.
Do you have failures in your family line? Failures can be a number of things; moral, financial, mental, physical, emotional, the list could go on and on. But I want you to know that the very thing we think of as failure can actually be the very thing God wants to get the glory in.
We have to get past the thought that we have to have it all together to be blessed by God. God is not done and He is still writing your story.
I was born into what many would consider “the blessed life”. My parents were married, both worked and made good money, we were financially stable enough to build our home from the ground up. I lived in a 4 bedroom and 3 bath home with a double car garage. The neighborhood was quiet and boasted of one of the best school districts in the state of Kansas. When I was a toddler my family had all the ingredients to make up the American dream.
Then life happened.
I was about two or three years old when my mother was overtaken with mental illness. This was not some simple diagnosis. It was so significant and severe that the state forcefully removed her from my life and deemed her to be an “unfit” mother. She was absent for almost eight years of my childhood. My dad was now the single parent of two children and my sister was left to stand in the gap as a mother figure.
This was the beginning of a long attack on my family lineage.
My dad fought to keep to keep our family intact but time created a turmoil that eventually led to divorce. Our American dream began to decline. Without the second income, we were forced to give up our home and move into a one bedroom apartment. We went from having all we could ever need to living a life in survival mode. As I grew up we moved a total of ten times.
As a child, I lacked identity and understanding. I got hooked up with the wrong crowd and began smoking and selling weed. I was drinking alcohol before I started high school. I played baseball in high school but I was still taking various drugs. Between the ages of 18-23, I got multiple DUIs and drug possession charges. I almost died from alcohol poisoning on my twenty-first birthday.
I stayed in school, striving to find my purpose. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education only to find out my criminal record prevented me from being able to teach. I searched for answers only to hit a dead end time and time again.
On a larger scale, I came from a family who has a history of health issues, heart disease, cancer, epilepsy, and many others, not to mention the past and present political divides, differing religious beliefs, and the struggles that come with tension and division.
I was a product of the destruction that mental illness can breed. I was a product of privilege yet also poverty. I was a product of divorce and remarriage. I was a product of drug use and drinking. I was a product of depression, lack of self-worth, and mistaken identity.
I was a product of the plan the devil had for me.
But now I am a product of reconstruction and prosperity in the things of God. My mom and I are closer than ever before. I have been delivered and come into the knowledge of my identity in Christ.
I am NOW a product of the plan God has for me!
My story is not one in which I boast in myself but instead, I hope to display the power of God and be a living example of what a product a grace can be. To God be all the glory, and honor, and praise. When I was at my worst God provided me praying grandparents who never gave up on me.
I am here to tell you that whoever you are and whatever you have been through, no matter what type of family you have come from you are also called to be a product of God’s goodness and grace.
Let us take a look at Matthew 1: 1-16
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.
David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
There is much here in the genealogy of our Lord. I definitely encourage you to make time to study this on your own. My focus in today’s blog are the five women mentioned in this portion scripture: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.
Matthew was very intentional to include these women. In this day and time, this may not seem like a very big deal. However, back in the time, the Bible was written, this was almost unheard of. Genealogy records were male dominant. In addition to that men were prideful and often known to praise God that they were not women. Within the Jewish culture or religious system, women were often seen as less important in comparison to men. However, I believe you will see God Himself obviously did not feel the same.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar…
We see Tamar’s story in Genesis 38. She is a widow who was infamous for deceiving her father-in-law (Judah) by pretending to be a prostitute. She tricked him into sleeping with her in order to get pregnant. To you and I this is not only appalling but on a surface level makes no sense. So why did Tamar do such a dishonorable thing? She wanted to ensure she would produce the son that would keep her lineage intact.
Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab…
Rahab’s story can be found in Joshua 2 and 6. She is a prostitute and a gentile. In other words, she was not an Israelite and therefore not one of God’s people yet she is listed in the faith hall of fame.
It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. Heb 11:31 NLT
This is an amazing display of the power of God and His ability to transform a person who was ignorant of Him.
Boaz begot Obed by Ruth…
Ruth was one of the few women who have their own book in the Bible. As a Moabite, she would have worshipped the God Chemosh which translates to “destroyer”. The worshippers of Chemosh were cult-like people. Yet this woman found value in the God of her mother-in-law Naomi and vowed to be loyal to Him.
Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Ruth 1:16
Because of the integrity and faithfulness of this woman God blessed her and she birthed the grandfather of King David.
Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.
David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah….
Bathsheba’s story is found in 2 Sam 11-12. She is remembered as an adulteress. Some believe she was a seductress. Others believe she was a victim of the king. The scripture is not clear on this but whatever the case may be her story is a reminder that no matter what the scandal nothing is outside the mercy and goodness of God. God brought newness and hope even through that which was at one time shameful in order to extend the lineage of Christ.
And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ…
Mary, whose story is seen throughout the gospels, is described as an everyday person. She was young, engaged to Joseph, and modeled what it means to be a willing and faithful servant. She said yes to the will of God for her life despite the implications that this supernatural conception would bring. She was a woman of courage.
I am presenting to you my personal story, in addition to these Biblical references so that you and I can come to understand that we should not discredit ourselves or anyone else because of the scandals of their ancestors.
Jesus’ family had widows, deceivers, prostitutes, non-believers, idol worshippers, and adulterers yet he still carried out God’s perfect plan for His life.
God uses actual, not ideal, people to carry out His plans. He uses our messes to communicate to the world. God takes time to unfold His plan and it’s in the course of our natural lives that His work is made evident.
Jesus’ family line included many moral failures and many mishaps yet it didn’t prevent God’s plan from prevailing. Your personal failures and your family failures are no match for the mercy and grace of God!
Lord no matter what has transpired in my family line help me to move forward, to be free from my past, and walk in your perfect will. Deliver me, free me, and enlarge my capacity to be and do all you desire me to be and do. From this day forward I declare the generations after me will serve you, God. In Jesus’ name…AMEN!!
MEDITATE ON THIS
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10