We looked at the first two women listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus here, so now let’s step into the stories of the last three.

Ruth ~ Read her four chapter story in the book of Ruth.

ruth-image-aShe was a Moabite widow who loved her mother-in-law, also a widow. {A little background on the Moabites: they were a tribe of people descended from Moab, the son of Lot, born from an incestuous relationship with his oldest daughter after the destruction of Sodom. (Genesis 19:37).}

Naomi was heading back to her home country, and Ruth followed. She could have turned back. Gone back to her own mother’s house, married a man from her own people just as Naomi had pleaded with her to do. But Ruth would not abandon Naomi and instead, pledged to be with her until death parted them. I love her words of fierce loyalty to Naomi…

“Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Yahweh punish me, and do so severely if anything but death separates you and me.  (1:16-17)  

Ruth gave up her own country, her own people, and for all she knew, the chance at a family of her own, all for the sake of another. And one of my favorite verses is something Boaz, the man she would marry, said to her regarding her selfless actions…

“…you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and how you came to a people you didn’t previously know. May the Lord reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” (2:11-12)

The risk she took, the sacrifice she made to remain with Ruth brought her into the refuge of God, where she found the kinsman-redeemer Boaz, became the great-grandmother of David, and is one of only five women mentioned in the lineage of Jesus. Full reward. But for me, the treasure in Ruth’s story is this…

The refuge of God is worth the risk of leaving behind everything I know of earthly refuge. No other refuge, be it family, friends, home or anything else, compares to the refuge of God. 

Uriah’s wife ~ Read her story in 2 Samuel, chapter 11.

 Her name is Bathsheba, so my biggest question was why wasn’t she named? Why did God have her referred to as simply Uriah’s wife?

David had sent for her while her husband was off to war, and he slept with her. David was the King, so I am assuming Bathsheba had little choice in the matter. David then had her husband killed on the battlefield and took Bathsheba as one of his many wives. {I can’t help but wonder what David would think if he read the first chapter of Matthew and saw Uriah’s wife written there. Because I wonder about stuff like that}. As I studied and pondered this passage, I felt God put this treasure into my heart —

 I remembered that something had been taken from her.

Though she may have never known the true circumstances of her loss, God knew and didn’t forget. He remembered, and did not call her the wife of David, but reminds everyone that she was once the wife of Uriah.

In the heart of God, Bathsheba was not a king’s one of many, but someone’s one and only. The heart of God remembers our losses. (You can read the entire post here.)

Mary ~ Read her story throughout the Gospels, but especially the first chapters of both Matthew and Luke.

She was young. Probably a teenager. Pledged to be married, which is so serious it requires a divorce to break it. And then an angel tells her that she will give birth to the Son of God, and do not be afraid. And then this…

 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

We think of Mary, and we think mother of Jesus, but I don’t know how many of us go beyond that. To think past the birth in a manger, to His death on a cross. To the full commitment made by a teenaged girl who was surrendered to mary_crossGod’s will in her life. How often do we consider that Mary raised Jesus to be a man and then watched Him suffer and die? I am a mother and I cannot begin to comprehend that kind of pain, the anguish of the heart that must have been hers to watch her son suffer the way Jesus suffered. I also cannot begin to imagine how great was her joy at His resurrection, nor how surreal was the knowledge that her son was her Savior. How humbling it must have been to fully understand the role she played in the fulfillment of prophecy and in the plans and purposes of God to save mankind from their sin. I have considered all of these things, and have found, in Mary’s story, this treasure:

A life fully surrendered to the will of God is not promised to be an easy life. But it is a life that holds the promise of Glory.

Questions

Consider the places, or people of refuge (a place where you feel safe, sheltered, protected) you have (family/spouse, home, job, government, military, law enforcement, church, pastor, are some that come to mind). What would it look like for you to come to God for refuge? What would that mean for you?

Have you suffered a loss, and thought it didn’t matter to anyone, even God? 

What scares you the most about a life that is fully and completed surrendered to whatever God wills?

Encouragement

We are wired to seek safety, to find a place of refuge in times of trouble or uncertainty. God does not ask us to abandon our need for refuge, but to abandon our trust in earthly refuge, and allow Him to be our refuge. You are safe with Him. I promise you, He is a safe place for your heart, for your hope. He is worth the risk of abandonment! And not only is your heart safe with Him, so is your loss and your grief. He does not count your loss as nothing. It matters to Him. You matter to Him. And if you will allow yourself to move past your fear, and fully surrender to His will, you might just be amazed at what glory He wants to bring from your surrendered life!

Previously:

Matthew:  those first two women

Up Next:

Matthew:  trusted by a sovereign God

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