I was going to skip the genealogy (as I usually do). But I was determined to start at the beginning, so I read every single “father of…” in the first 16 verses of Matthew. And then I went back. Something in verse 5 caught my eye.
“Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab”.
A prostitute of Jericho. Her story is in the second chapter of Joshua. Two spies sent by Joshua to “look over the land” stopped at her house, and her life would never be the same. She had no idea that their decision would place her in the lineage of the Messiah.
To the people of Jericho, Rahab was probably just another prostitute. I wonder if she ever came to understand that she was so much more than that to God. Did she ever realize that in the small decision the two spies made to stop at her house, God’s plan for her took flight? She saved them with a lie, they saved her through a scarlet cord. She lived among the Israelites for the rest of her days, giving birth to the famous Kinsmen-Redeemer, Boaz, and becoming the great-great grandmother of King David. Not only is she listed in the genealogy of Jesus, but her faith is mentioned in the books of Hebrews and James. To Jericho, she was just a prostitute, but God knew her. And He made sure we would never forget her.
It all began with the decision to stop at the house of a prostitute.
And God whispered a word and brought a memory with it. “Significant.”
My son was going to college in Waco, Texas. His older sister was here with us in Illinois. A prodigal, still living in the far country. One day my son was sitting outside on campus and prayed for his sister. He heard God tell him to invite her to move to Texas, so he called. She said yes and moved to Waco. She joined his church community and God caught the heart He had been pursuing. She is in Uganda now, obeying His call to go to the nations. The prodigal has returned home to the Father and is now wildly running her race with Jesus. Because a brother prayed for his sister, and then obeyed the voice of God and picked up the phone. Small decisions, a prayer and a phone call. But in the hand of God they changed a life that is now changing other lives.
I went back to the beginning, and find myself sitting in the genealogy of Jesus, filled with an awe that makes it hard to breathe. Because God is huge and an encounter with a prostitute changes everything and a prayer and a phone call can change a life because everything matters and Who is this God who does these things?
And then awe deepens and I go lower.
Because I have lived my whole life feeling insignificant.
And I feel His gaze and go lower still. Because I came back to the beginning and He met me here and something is shifting and what else do you do when God is looking but go lower? What do you do when God shows up in the “father of…” part of the beginning and speaks healing over you? When your mind is bombarded with the knowledge that everything matters? Phone calls and prayers and prostitutes and a scarlet cord and you, yes you. Your life, your love, your pain, your prayer, and your hunger for more. All significant in the plans and the hands of God.
You go low and you weep at the wonder, and significance, of it all.