The book of Matthew begins with an account of Jesus’ heritage. In the past, when I’ve read through the Bible, I usually skip over long strings of names like this one. I have always thought “Oh, those are just a bunch of weird names that are hard to pronounce, it’s not a big deal, I’ll skip ahead”, but that thought was a mistake. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is inspired by God…” that includes long lists of names such as this one. Matthew 1:2-6 begins by saying:
“Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.”
I love these verses because it shows the type of people that God chooses for his children. Abraham was a moon worshipper, Jacob stole his brother’s blessing, and Tamar dressed as a prostitute and got knocked up by her father-in-law. But one name that really stands out to me is Rahab. In Joshua 7 we meet Rahab and we learn that she worked as a prostitute. God used her to not only save two Israelite spies, but she is included in the lineage of Jesus! She grew up, lived, and thrived in a society that was full of pagan worship. She made good money working as a prostitute and lived in a nice home in part of the city wall. Her life I’m sure was characterized by lying and greed (as most peoples are before they meet Christ).
But God still loved her and showed mercy to her. Despite the mountain of sin that characterized her life, God chose her and used her in a mighty way. And He can do the same for you. God doesn’t want the “perfect” people (they don’t exist-we’re all screwed up), he wants the lowly, those who are hurting, those who need love (by the way, that’s all of us). No matter what your past looks like, you’re not too damaged for God to love you. He is waiting there with open arms for you to come to him, repent of sin, and give your life to Him!
Your past doesn’t disqualify you from doing something great for God. I love the saying “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”. If you have been called by God, don’t get discouraged by what your past looks like, be encouraged that the God who can raise people from the dead loves you and called you and is now living inside of you!
Thank God that He specializes in saving screwed up people!