Matthew is the first of the four gospels, and has an overall focus on the Kingdom of God and fulfilled prophesies from the Old Testament. If I had to assign a goal to the writer, it would be to convince the Jewish people that Jesus is their long awaited Messiah.
Perhaps that’s why it is the only gospel that begins with the genealogy of Jesus, the part that so many of us skim past. But my very first treasure is found in that genealogy, so I want this to be our first stop.
Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar (v.3)
Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth (v. 5-6)
Then David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife (v.6)
and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah. (v.16)
While most Jewish genealogies did not include women, this one mentions 5 of them. In a culture, nay, in a world where women are often considered far less important than men, God shows His heart to us through the recorded earthly lineage of His Son.
It is history, not feminism, that tells us that from the beginning, women have been mistreated, overlooked, abused and treated unjustly by men. We have been looked at as objects, considered to be property, and treated as insignificant. That said, I will also point out that it has not been all women, and certainly not all men. And having said that, I want to trace the root back to the beginning.
In Genesis 3, the consequences of the fall of man are written. To the serpent (representing Satan), God said this:
“I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.” (v. 15)
And in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds us that we are not one another’s enemy…
“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (6:12)
Men and women are both created in the image of God, both loved by God, both fallen, and both worth the price of redemption paid at Calvary. And we are both targeted by the enemy of God in unique ways. So let me say this, to cover everything going forward…men are not the enemy, and nothing I write is meant to disrespect them in any way. I know many good men who treat women with incredible respect and honor. I have also witnessed women treating men with astonishing disrespect and even abuse. So none of this study is meant to pit women against men or vice versa. History is what it is, but history is not what is true of the heart of God.
In the coming posts, we’re going to look closer at each of the women in Jesus’ family line, but today I want us to look into the places in our heart where perhaps a lie has been holding its ground.
What a few of our lies might look like…
- I work full time and my house is a mess. I can’t keep up with everything, so I am failing. I am less than all the other women who can do it all.
- I’m a stay at home mom, so I’m less important than my husband. I’m not really contributing to our finances, so my role is less significant.
- I don’t make as much money as the men I work with, so I must be less valuable.
- My opinions and ideas aren’t valued. My voice isn’t heard. I don’t matter.
- None of the women in my group have a past like mine. I don’t belong here.
- I haven’t been a good Christian. I’m not qualified to minister to anyone.
Most of us know in our heads that these are lies, yet they live like truth in our hearts. We carry around a weight of insignificance, a less-than mentality. We feel unimportant and of less value than others, and we are probably unaware of it. Where it shows up the most? In our striving…our do it all/be it all lifestyles. In our comparisons…our work hard to fit in, keep up, be as good as-pretty as-thin as-successful as, way of life.In our shame…our don’t try so we don’t fail attitudes, our keep the ugly parts hidden so others won’t know mentality, our don’t let anyone get too close lives.
I battled this very subject for most of my life and even though I have experienced a lot of freedom from it, that feeling of being less-than, or insignificant, still rises up now and then. Believe it or not, my freedom from it started right here in the genealogy in Matthew. I felt inner chains begin to break as I realized that God defied custom and culture to include a group of women in the recorded lineage of Jesus. For me, that translated into this: women matter to God and He does not treat them with disregard. With that small revelation, the lie that lived in the dark was suddenly exposed to some light. My personal lie was that there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t like other women. Because I believed it, I never felt like I fit in anywhere, and it’s a very short walk from there to the bigger lie that lived in my heart: I don’t matter. That belief was strengthened by abuses and emotional pain at the hands of men from a very young age, that carried on well into adulthood. So, I am very acquainted with the issue of insignificance and the brokenness it brings. But I also know the freedom from it that is ours if we will begin to believe God.
So for today, I think this is a good place to start:
So God created man in His own image;
He created him in the image of God;
He created them male and female.
God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:27, 31)
Have you ever struggled with feeling diminished in some way? Less than? Unqualified? Insignificant? Unimportant?
How does it show up in your life (striving, comparison, shame, etc.)?
How are you battling it?
There is nothing about you that is diminished. You have been created by a God who loves you and you bear His image! He created you on purpose, with purpose, and there isn’t anyone else exactly like you. You are not less than anyone. He sent His Son to die for your sins so that you could have eternal life with Him, therefore your worth, your value, has already been established by God Himself. No one on earth has the power to diminish what God has established. Lift your head, daughter. Do not walk in the lie of insignificance. You are not just a face in a crowd, a speck in the mass of humanity. You are seen by God. You are known by God. You are loved by God. And you are part of His plan for mankind. You are significant.
Up next: those first two women