Bible Studies by Paula Yingst …
11. Time Out: Skeletons in the Family Closet!
The following is based on Genesis 38; Joshua 2:1-21, 6:15-25; Matthew 1:1-5; Hebrews 11:31 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)
Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.
So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:
Adam and Eve ==> Seth ==> Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah
For my readers who are not familiar with the saying, “skeletons in the closet,” that is a term for things (or people) that someone — or an entire family — feels ashamed of or wants to keep secret for one reason or another … sometimes for generations!
One thing I love about the Bible is that God lays it all out there — the good, the bad, and the UGLY of situations that you would think He’d want to leave out of the family historical record. There are two women in Jesus’ family tree that should not be there — from a human perspective. Their names were Tamar and Rahab. They lived several generations apart, and both were prostitutes.
Tamar was not actually a prostitute, but she pretended to be one to lure her father-in-law (Judah) into having intercourse with her after her husband (Judah’s son) died. You can read the details of why and how she deceived him in Genesis 38. From that union came twin boys, Perez and Zerah. Perez was next in the genetic line that led to Jesus.
So the family branch continues with Judah and Tamar ==> Perez
Now we’re going to skip over a huge amount of history. LONG story short …
- The descendants of Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) went to live with Joseph in Egypt.
- After Joseph died, so did the Pharaoh who had been so fond of him, and a new king took over Egypt who turned the Israelites into his slaves.
- Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were written to record what happened as the Israelites grew in number.
- Moses was a “savior” to the Hebrews (another name for the descendants of Jacob) similar to Joseph. And, like Joseph, Moses and his brother Aaron were NOT included in Jesus’ lineage. But God used the two of them to rescue the Israelites from bondage in Egypt under the EVIL Pharaoh.
God promised the Israelites that He would lead them to an area of land where they could live in peace and have a satisfying RELATIONSHIP with Him. The book of Joshua tells the story of what happened once they reached that destination. It also tells about a woman who was instrumental in helping the Israelites conquer the key city of Jericho — Rahab the prostitute. You can read about her in Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:15-25. She is also named as a woman of faith in Hebrews 11:
“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the [Israeli] spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient [had no relationship with God]” (Hebrews 11:31, NIV).
And the family branch continues to grow …
Judah and Tamar ==> Perez ==> ==> Salmon and Rahab
Almighty God wants you and me to know that HE CAN USE ANYONE HE CHOOSES TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE! And that divine purpose is to make a way for RELATIONSHIP to once again be possible between the Creator and his most treasured creation, humankind.
12. Jesus, descendant of David
The following is based on 1 Samuel 16-19; 2 Samuel 2, 5, 7, and 11-12; Matthew 1:1-6 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)
Perhaps the most crucial individual in the genealogical chain was an individual known as David, son of Jesse. Continuing where we left off …
Judah and Tamar ==> Perez ==> ==> Salmon and Rahab ==> Boaz and Ruth ==> Obed ==> Jesse ==> David
David was anointed the second king over Israel. The first, Saul, turned out to be a very disappointing king, since he couldn’t quite figure out what God meant by OBEDIENCE. You can discover all the reasons WHY by reading 1 Samuel, chapters 10 through 31.
David was a direct descendant of Adam, Abraham’s son Isaac, and Abraham’s grandson Jacob (a.k.a. ISRAEL). It was genetically through David that the Messiah, who was promised by God, would appear on earth.
This was something that all of Israel’s descendants would have known about and looked forward to from generation to generation. It was the reason why Matthew began his gospel with these words: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:” (Matthew 1:1). It was the reason WHY the two blind men called out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” (Matthew 9:27), and WHY a Canaanite woman cried, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly” (Matthew 15:22). It was WHY on “Palm Sunday” the crowds shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9)
When we look forward to the celebration of Messiah’s birth, we can know WHY the shepherds understood what the angel of the Lord meant when he said to them, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord“ (Luke 2:11). They had studied prophecy from childhood, so they were aware of what had been foretold about the coming Messiah, Son of David.
And it becomes easier to comprehend the people’s confusion as they watched the Son of David being nailed to a crucifixion cross and seeming so helpless.
I invite you to read my studies titled, “Journey to the Cross,” and follow this man called Jesus (or Yeshua, in Hebrew) from his birth, to his death, to his resurrection, and his ascension into heaven. He is the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE … and no one can spend eternity with the Father without going THROUGH HIM! (John 14:6)