Last night, my husband selected the gospel of Matthew as our next book of the Bible for family worship. Matthew’s gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus. As my husband was reading the genealogy, I was struck again by the fact that the Bible does not hide the unflattering truth about the sin of God’s people. This is one of the attributes of the Bible that verifies its authenticity. In every other man-made false religion, ugliness is hidden, and their “best face” is put forward.
Let’s take a look at some of the black sheep in Jesus’ genealogy:
Abraham: Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah, claiming she was his sister because he was afraid. Due to this lying, he almost caused Abimelech, a king, to sin by taking a married woman as his wife. Abraham, also due to weakness of faith and impatience, took Hagar, his wife’s maid, as a second wife to have a son with, instead of waiting on the Lord to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah. (Genesis 16 & 20)
King David: David shirked his kingly duty of going to battle and while staying home, fell into sin by coveting Uriah’s wife. He slept with Bathsheba (adultery), then tried to cover it up by having Uriah moved to the front lines and killed in battle (murder). He also had weaknesses as a father, specifically in dealing with the rape of his daughter Tamar by his son Amnon, and with the rebellion of his beloved son Absolom who tried to overthrow him as king. (2 Samuel 11, 13, & 15)
Judah & Tamar: Judah was one of Jacob’s sons. He failed to ensure that his daughter in law, Tamar, was given a husband from his other sons after her first husband was killed by God because he was evil. Tamar took things into her own hands, disguising herself as a prostitute and slept with Judah. When Judah, who didn’t realize the prostitute was Tamar, found out that Tamar had been playing the harlot, he wanted her burned (oh the hypocrisy!). When Judah’s seal, staff, and cord were produced, proving that it was in fact Judah she slept with, his sin was revealed. (Genesis 38)
Rahab: Rahab was a gentile prostitute who hid the spies sent by Joshua to scout out the promised land and Jericho. She went on to be the mother of Boaz, the great grandfather of King David. (Joshua 2)
Yes, these are some examples of the black sheep from Jesus’ linage, but they are also heroes of the faith. Abraham committed great sin, but he also repented. Abraham had weak faith at times, but he also had great faith when he was willing to sacrifice his only son because God commanded him to. More importantly, he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness; he was also called God’s friend (James 2:23).
Likewise, King David committed great sin, but he was full of godly remorse and repentance, and a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Judah committed wickedness, but he went on to have a changed heart because of God’s grace.
The One True God is the God of redemption! This is what makes the True and Only God different from every other false religion and god out there. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is glorified by His acts of redemption in the lives of sinners. He delights in using weak vessels because they highlight His strength; He uses the foolish things to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). Only God can do that. Only God would reach down and choose to use the black sheep to bring forth His greatest gift: Jesus the Christ!
Soli Deo Gloria!