How’s Your Family Doing?

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The gospel of Matthew starts with a list of Jesus’ ancestors:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, the father of Jacob, father of Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, the father of Ram, the father of Amminadab, the father of Nahshon, the father of Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of
Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, the father of King David. the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, the father of Abijah, the father of Asa, the father of Jehoshaphat,the father of Jehoram, the father of Uzziah, the father of Jotham, the father of Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah, the father of Manasseh,the father of Amon,the father of Josiah, the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, the father of Abiud,the father of Eliakim, the father of Azor, the father of Zadok, the father of Akim, the father of Eliud, the father of Eleazar, the father of Matthan, the father of Jacob, the father of Joseph… — (Mattthew 1:2-16)

So who were these people? You’d think they were holy men, right? Like those preachers who come from a family of preachers: “My daddy was a preacher, and his daddy was a preacher, and HIS daddy was a preacher . . . my great-great-aunt Nellie used to pray that all her sons for seven generations would be preachers, and the only man in our family who isn’t a preacher, well, he runs a shelter for AIDS orphans in Africa!”

But if you read the Bible, you might just be surprised to learn . . . . .

Abraham – slept with his wife’s slave Hagar (Genesis 16); twice lied by denying that Sarah was his wife (Genesis 12, 20)

Isaac – repeated his father’s lie, claiming that Rebekah was not his wife (Genesis 26)

Jacob – dishonored and lied to his father by pretending to be Esau in order to steal Esau’s birthright (Genesis 26)

Judah – threw his brother Joseph into a pit, sold him into slavery, and then lied to his father to cover up the crime (Genesis 37); lied to his daughter-in-law Tamar and broke his promise to her; slept with Tamar thinking she was a prostitute (Genesis 38)

Tamar – disguised herself as a prostitute so she could sleep with her father-in-law Judah and get pregnant by him. (Genesis 38) (In all fairness to Tamar, Judah had left her with little choice because he’d promised her in marriage to his youngest son but then refused to allow the marriage to be consummated, effectively cursing her to be forever childless.)

Rahab – a prostitute and a Canaanite (Joshua 2, 6). The Canaanites were all under a curse (Genesis 9).

Ruth – (Ruth 1) was from Moab, a people who were cursed because they sprang from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19); of the Moabites God said: “no Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation.” (Deuteronomy 23)

David – murdered Uriah to cover up his adulterous relationship with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba (2Samuel 11)

Solomon – had 700 wives and 300 concubines in direct defiance of God’s law (“The king must not take many wives” Deuteronomy 17:17) and built temples for false gods, leading the nation into idolatry (1Kings 11)

Rehoboam, Abijah, Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon, Jeconiah (aka Jehoiachin) – were all listed as evil kings of Judah who “did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2Kings 16:2, etc.) Manasseh was considered the worst king Judah ever had, committing sins of idolatry and other heinous crimes, even sacrificing his own son in the fire (2Kings 21)

Kind of gives you hope for your own family, doesn’t it?

God can’t use perfect people because they have no need of his forgiveness and grace!

I love my perfectly imperfect family!