Maybe it’s your past. Maybe it’s your addictions. Maybe it’s the mess you find yourself in now. Whatever it is, there’s always a temptation to disqualify ourselves from being used by God, before God even has a chance to disqualify us. For those struggling with whether God could ever really use you or not, take heart in Scripture.
Matthew 1 is by all intents and purposes a boring chapter in the Bible. It seems like a tedious way to start off the New Testament: it’s a genealogy. Matthew records the lineage of Jesus, from Abraham to Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father). Jewish genealogies are typically a list of male heirs from one generation to another. In this particular list, Matthew makes a notable exception: he includes four females. The very fact that women were included in the all important genealogy of Christ is scandalous enough. Once you look at the lives of the four women, the scandal reaches a fever pitch:
Tamar (Matthew 1:3) – She was the widow of Judah’s sons, who, feeling slighted because she had no heir, dressed up like a prostitute and got pregnant by her father-in-law Judah.
Rahab (Matthew 1:5) – Rahab was a foreign prostitute living in Jericho at the time of the Conquest of Canaan. Her life was spared and she eventually married into the people of God, but with the stigma of being a foreigner and prostitute.
Ruth (Matthew 1:5) – Ruth was a foreigner as well, a Moabitess. Although interracial marriage carries a little bit of stigma today, it pales in comparison to what Boaz and Ruth had to face for their interracial marriage.
Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6) – Simply referred to as “Uriah’s wife,” it’s a reminder of Bathsheba’s sordid past. King David lusted after her, committed adultery with her, and killed her husband Uriah, one of David’s top soldiers.
When you put it all together, Jesus’ lineage contains some scandalous characters: prostitutes, foreigners, adulterers, and incestuous relationships. These are the forbearers God chose for His son Jesus.
If God could use them, He can use you. Never forget that.