The Road to Bethlehem: Redeemed with a Purpose!

Matthew 1:5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse

 
I love listening to other peoples testimonies; how they came to know Christ as their personal Savior. Many of them will tell me how they were saved at an early age, maybe during a Sunday school class, and cannot remember a time when they were not in church. In some ways it is hard not to be jealous of these people. What about those who were saved later in life as a late teen or adult? A life of sin is evident in the scars that they carry as they try to move past the life they lived in the flesh and begin to walk in the newness of life in Christ. Have you ever felt this way? Whether you were saved early or late in life we all struggle, we all have scars, we all need a fresh look at what it means to be redeemed! Enter Ruth…
 
The daughter of the Moabites, a people began by an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:36-37). They were an idolatrous people who were a thorn in the side of the children of Israel and even excluded from worshipping in the temple of God (Deuteronomy 23:3-6). Ruth was a Moabite who became the wife of the son of Elimelech and Naomi and traveled back to Israel with her Mother-in-Law after the death of all of their husbands, perhaps knowing that she would live out her days ostracized from normal society. But God had a different plan.
 
God led her to the field of Boaz to pick up the scraps of what the field hands left behind. Boaz just happened to be a near kinsman of Ruth’s late husband and had the opportunity to show God’s Love and Mercy to these ladies through becoming their “Kinsmen Redeemer” by marrying Ruth. A women, born into a despised people, widowed by the tragedies of life, living as an outsider among the people of God…Redeemed! And more than this…was the great grandmother of the King of Israel, David. Redeemed with a purpose – to be a part of the road that led to Bethlehem.
 
Redeemed with a purpose…have you ever though of that? Whether you were saved at the age of 2 or 92. Whether you carry the scars of a lifetime of sin of one born as an outsider from the church or have grown up in church since the day your were born. If you have asked Christ to save you, to Redeem you, then you have a purpose: To be used to tell the world of your great Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus Christ! Just as God can use someone like a Moabite widow in His great Plan of Salvation, He can use us, scars and all, to proclaim this Good News!
 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us praise God for our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus, who paid the price so that you and I could be brought into the family of God! Praise Him for His salvation and Proclaim the Good News to the World! That is being Redeemed With A Purpose!!


The Road to Bethlehem: Follow Me

Matthew 1:5

And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse.

 

As we continue our road to Bethlehem we find our selves at our next stop: The wife of Salmon, mother of Boaz and one of the most unlikely ancestors of Jesus…Rahab. We first meet Rahab in Jericho as the children of Israel began their conquest of the promised land (Joshua 2). She protected the spies that Joshua had sent being convinced that the God of Israel would keep His promise and lead them to possess the land. Her faith in God’s promises even landed her in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11! (Hebrews 11:31)
 
Why do you think Matthew included her in this list? After all, the focus was on the father by whom the line of kings would come so why would he even bother mentioning Rahab among the 4 women included in the genealogies? To answer this, I think we need to remember who Matthew was before he became a disciple…
 
There he was at his desk doing his job…collecting the taxes from the Jews to give to the Romans. He wasn’t the most popular of people in town, but a man had to make a living right? He was a publican, a sell out to the Romans, a thief who padded the numbers to fill his pockets. A man on the same level as the sinners who the Jews despised. Then a man walked up to the table and said two words that would change his life forever…”Follow Me!” (Matthew 9:9) In faith he did just that and in the end was used by God to write the Gospel that begins the New Testament! 
 
Maybe this is why he mentions Rahab. They had a lot in common. They both were sell-outs…rejects of society… using questionable and sinful methods to feed their families…until they were confronted with the God of the universe! From that point on their lives would never be the same! They would follow their God and be used of Him…one to help in the coming of the Savior and one to Proclaim it to the world! A Harlot and a Publican…not the ones most of us would choose to be associated with but in the Hands of the Living God they were transformed to live as illustrations of His Grace.
 
Maybe you are thinking, “If God can do this with someone like Rahab and Matthew, can He use me?” The answer is “Yes”! I can’t shout this loud enough! So far we have seen Him use liars, cheaters, prideful, sinful sell-outs to proclaim His love and grace to the world. As you will see as we continue this journey it doesn’t stop there. If God can uses these questionable characters to paint a beautiful portrait of Grace and Mercy then he can use each of us. The question is are we willing to step out in faith, take God at His word, Follow Him and let Him transform our lives!
 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and mind on Christ let us find encouragement in the Grace of God. The One who can take the dregs of society and use them to proclaim to the world the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s! Let me challenge you today…Christ is standing before you as you sit consumed with what this world has to offer…with two words, “Follow Me”. What will you do?


The Road To Bethlehem: The Patriarchs

Matthew 1:1-1 1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren.

 
Genesis 12:1-3 1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
 
In Matthew chapter 1 the Bible lists 42 of the ancestors of Jesus Christ – from Abraham to Joseph. Some of these are heroes of the faith who were used by God to do amazing things. Others not so much! You would think that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would come from a distinguished line of faith and valor – those who set themselves apart from all others in their zeal for God! But what we find is a group of people not to much different from you and me. As we lead up to the day that we celebrate the birth of Christ let us consider some of these unlikely ancestors of Jesus.
 
In the first group that Matthew gives us we have the recipients of the Promises! First on this list is Abraham and his sons. This should not surprise us as God told Abraham that the world would be blessed through his offspring. (Genesis 12:1-3) Then later God confirmed this promise with Isaac (Genesis 26:3-5) and with Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). These three men, who were separated from the world to bring about the line that would lead to Bethlehem, set the stage for what was to come. Abraham had some great victories in faith as he stepped out from his home in Ur at the command of God journeying through a strange land, taking his God at His Word. This is seen very clearly on the mountain top where Abraham stood over his bound promised son ready to act on the faith that God would honor His promises! But don’t forget that he also allowed fear to cause him to lie about his wife Sarah, putting her in a difficult position simply to keep himself safe. (Genesis 12:13). Isaac also had his flaws as he followed God, dividing his house by showing favoritism between his sons. Then Jacob supplanted his brother by taking both the birthright and the blessing from Esau.   This tells us that even though these men were used by God, they were still broken, sinful men. Dishonest, selfish and manipulative….not the traits that you and I would choose to show the world about our ancestors. However God shows us that if He can use these to bring about His plan of salvation for the world, then He can use us to proclaim the news of the Gospel and the grace and love of Christ to the world!
 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us consider how God can use even broken people like us to glorify His name! This Christmas Season let us present our bodies a living sacrifice to our Lord, saying “I give You my life, flaws and all, and ask you to use it to proclaim the Good news of Jesus Christ to the World!”