WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 5

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 5 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whose in your family treeThis morning I’m in the last message of our miniseries “WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE?” So far we have been studying the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, looking at all those four women who were undeserving but found grace in the sight of God. In this message we will look at the genealogy of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. It’s different, unique, and has a powerful message for us, our nation, and our world.

Luke 1 23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli…31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,… 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor…36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech…38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Overall Background: Throughout this week I struggled over whether or not I should preach on this genealogy. I had many reasons for why I should skip over this passage but the Holy Spirit did not allow me to do that. Because, in this genealogy, we understand God’s master plan of redemption for the whole world. The gist of the message is this – We have one problem. We are one family. We received one promise. We have one response. Bottom Line: “Jesus is the focus of history.”

Application: This morning as we go through this message ask yourself this question –Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If you are lost, you need to be saved. If you are saved, are you sharing Jesus with others? He is our only hope.

Let’s look at Luke’s genealogy of Jesus. We will go from the top to the bottom, from Adam to Jesus.

1. WE HAVE ONE PROBLEM.

Listen to Luke 3:38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Background: Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus Christ only goes to Abraham. His purpose was to show the Jewish people that Jesus was indeed the Messiah who was promised to Israel. Luke wrote his gospel to the Gentiles. His purpose was to show that Jesus was indeed the Savior who was promised to the whole world. Hence, his genealogy goes all the way to Adam because the problem began with Adam when he chose to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. God had specifically warned him not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but the temptation got the best of him. Disregarding the commandment of God and disregarding the consequences of sin, Adam did what he wanted to do. As a result, sin came into the world and with sin came death. Listen to Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Now we all belong to the family of sin and death.

Application: Think of all the problems facing us today – marital problems, youth problems, drug abuse problems, alcohol problems, race problems, terrorism problems, war problems, and the list goes on and on and on.

2.  WE ARE ONE FAMILY.

Listen to verse 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

Background: It didn’t take thousands of years for things to go downhill. The effect of sin was immediate. Adam blamed his wife for his sin, right there was the first marital conflict. The next big sin was murder, where Cain killed his brother Abel. From there the ball started rolling and in Genesis 6 5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Noah was the only individual who obeyed God and God preserved Him and his family in the Ark. He didn’t have to. He could have destroyed it all but He didn’t. That’s His grace.

After the flood, the world began again with the three sons of Noah and their wives. All of us in this place come from one of those three brothers. I often imagine what the scene was like when those three brothers with their three wives decided to go their separate ways. I can picture them hugging each other for a long time, wiping away their tears, and as they are walking in their separate directions, they stop and look back at each other. Somehow they know that one day their children and their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren will kill one another. How sad!

Application: We can look at what happened in Iraq with the beheading or Russia with sending troops into Ukraine or Ferguson with the riots as their problem. Or, if we truly believe that we are connected, then it’s our problem. In other words, there are problems in the family. We belong to one family – the human family and we have one problem – the sin problem. Sadly, sometimes the lost world seems to understand that principle better than the church. The message to the church today is – “Do you believe that we are one family? If so, what are you doing about it?”

Illustration: At Clearview, we are doing something through Kindle. Last Monday we had kids from the inner-city in our Bible program. In three weeks we will be hosting a community event in the inner-city, with food, music, gospel, and fellowship. Are you involved? You should be.

3.  WE RECEIVED ONE PROMISE.

34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

Background: In Genesis 12 God had called Abraham to leave his father’s house and step out in faith. Listen to verse 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. This was God’s promise of the coming of Jesus Christ. Abraham’s descendants would become the carriers of the Son of God. Abraham trusted God and went out. He was almost 100 years old before he had a child with his wife Sarah, who was 90.

But there was something else that God had promised Abraham. Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Illustration: I was reading an article yesterday on what is happening in Gaza. This article was in a Christian magazine and the writer was interviewing people, Christian people, about the destruction because of the bombings in Gaza. And this person said, (I’m paraphrasing) “It’s horrible what Israel is doing and how innocent people are dying. They need to try some other way like sit down and talk.” As I read that article, I remembered visiting this one family and the younger child kept beating on the older brother. When the older brother decided to defend himself, his parents got on to him and said to him, “He is smaller than you and you are bigger than him. He doesn’t know any better. You know better.” Isn’t that how it always goes? We expect the older to be understanding and patient and the younger can do whatever he wants to do. Here’s the problem with that logic: It’s unfair. Once that child is done beating on his older brother, he will go after the outsiders. Israel has the right to defend itself. Those same terrorists who are shooting rockets on Israel will one day shoot rockets on us.

But there’s more in Genesis 12, it’s un-biblical for people to mistreat God’s people. Jesus Himself said, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

Application: As a nation we are to stand with Israel, not only as a member of the free world but also as God’s people. Now someone might say – “Is God against the Arab people?” Absolutely not! God is for all people because we are connected. That is the point of Luke’s genealogy.

4.  WE HAVE ONE RESPONSE.

31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,

Background: If you remember, Matthew’s genealogy mentions Solomon as the son of David. But in Luke’s genealogy, Nathan is mentioned as the son of David. Some people have pointed to this as a problem in the Bible. They’ve said that either Matthew made a mistake or Luke made a mistake. Nothing can be further from the truth. The Bible is the word of God without any errors. So what is going on here?

Even though Solomon was the rightful heir to the throne of David, he lived in a way that was displeasing to God. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He trusted more in His wealth and power and pleasure than in God. I Kings 11 4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. In verse 9 So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel…11 Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. The Kings that followed Solomon were just as wicked. One of his descendant, Jeconiah, even had a curse pronounced on him.

Nathan, on the other hand, was Solomon’s older brother through Bathsheba. Just like his namesake Nathan the prophet, he represented a godly line. Listen to the prophecy of the prophet Zechariah during the Babylonian exile – Zechariah 12   10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.

What happened to the house of Solomon by itself and their wives by themselves? Too many wives! Solomon led his descendants in the wrong direction. Even though on paper his descendants are listed and Matthew uses it, Luke chooses to use the descendants of Nathan. By the way, both Matthew’s genealogy and Luke’s genealogy go to Joseph not Mary. I know some people try to claim that Luke is giving Jesus’s genealogy through Mary but the Bible never says that. Both Matthew’s genealogy and Luke’s genealogy are through Joseph. That’s what the text says. Matthew is through Joseph’s mom’s side and Luke is through Joseph’s dad’s side. Joseph was a royalty through and through but Jesus was not His son. In other words, Jesus was not Joseph’s problem. Now, Joseph had a choice to make. Is he going to listen to what the crowd is saying or is he going to listen to the angel?

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli…

By faith, Joseph accepted Mary’s son Jesus as his own and lent him his lineage.

So also you, by faith, have to decide what you will do with Jesus.

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 4

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 4 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whose in your family treeWe are in our miniseries through the genealogy of Jesus called “WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE?” So far we have seen the first three “not so illustrious” characters in the lineage of Jesus – Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. Now we come to the fourth one – Bathsheba. All of us have failed at some point in our lives or we have fallen victim to someone else’s failure. This message will help us realize that no matter what – God’s grace is available to all of us.

Matthew 1:5-7, 15-16 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa….15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

Overall Background: Most commentators and preachers who deal with the incident involving Bathsheba focus mostly on David – his sin, repentance, and restoration. What we will see today is the rest of the story from Bathsheba’s angle. By the way, I’m not the first person to attempt this. Many writers, painters, and preachers over the centuries have tried to do that, even Hollywood. Most of it is fanciful imagination, not based on historical evidence. Nothing terribly wrong about that but for our message we will focus only on what is actually written in the Bible about Bathsheba.

Here’s the gist of the message – Sometimes through no fault of your own, you share the consequence of someone else’s sin. Sometimes you have to play a role in someone else’s drama of life. But if you let God step in, He will use even this to bring grace in your life.

Application: This morning there are people here who are in a situation not of their choosing. If you could, you would never get involved in that situation. It is what it is. Either you can spend your whole life in “what if” or you can let God step in. If you do, He will work all things together for good in your life. If you don’t know Him, today is the day.

 4 things we will learn about Bathsheba’s life from the Word of God.

1. HER GODLY LIFE

2 Samuel 11 1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. (We can say much about David here – He should have been out there on the battlefield leading his men.)

“An empty mind is a Devil’s workshop.” If you are in a situation where you have a lot of free time on your hands, you are a prime candidate for trouble. Either you are getting into trouble or you are looking to start trouble. As a pastor, when someone comes to me with a complaint about a situation or a person, I evaluate what they are saying based on how busy they are. Leaders at Clearview – “Don’t listen to people who are idle.” They just might be Satan’s tools. But there are also people who are not that busy but they refuse to fall into Satan’s hands. They let God use them and they bring encouragement wherever they go. Which one are you?

David's PalaceBut we will move on because this message is not about David but Bathsheba. 2 “Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house.” Archaeology has shown that David’s palace was taller than any surrounding building. So he could look down at an angle on other rooftops or courtyards. “And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.” Even though David had a good vantage point to see what was happening in the city, for him to see woman bathing clearly and that she was beautiful to behold, she had to be near enough. Meaning – This woman’s house was near to David’s palace. In those days, only people of importance lived near the palace. The further away from the palace, the less important you were. Apparently, the woman came from an important family.

3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam…” Who was Eliam? It sounds like David was supposed to know this person. In 2 Samuel 23 we have a list of David’s mighty men. One of them killed 800 men by himself; another killed 300 men; and yet another had killed a lion inside a snow filled pit. This was an elite fighting force. Listen to verse 34 “…Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.” Bathsheba’s father was part of David’s elite fighting force.

There’s more – Who was Ahithophel the Gilonite? 2 Samuel 15:12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor…” Bathsheba’s grandfather was one of David’s advisors. How good of an advisor was he? 2 Samuel 16:23 Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. Meaning: When Ahithophel spoke, it was as if God spoke.

Bathsheba was not some riffraff. She came from a good home.

Application: Do you come from a good home with godly parents and grandparents? Thank God for that! But you’re not immune to trouble. As long as you live in this sinful world, trouble will find you. 1 Pet. 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” In fact, it seems that those who grow up in good Christian homes seem to have a lot of trouble. The enemy is after you. Don’t give up. Trust God that He will work all things for good.

Let me also talk to those who did not grow up in good homes and family situation. Don’t look with longing eyes at those who did. You never know what they had to go through. Eliam had to run from Saul and live in caves with David.

2. HER SHAMEFUL LIFE

3 “…And someone said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’”

Who was Uriah the Hittite? Remember the list of David’s elite fighting force in 2 Samuel 23, where Eliam, Bathsheba’s father was mentioned, listen to verse 39 “and Uriah the Hittite.” So, father-in-law and son-in-law worked together.

Hattusha MapWho was a Hittite? Up until recently, skeptics scholars doubted the existence of the Hittite people. Some scholars claimed that the Bible had created these mythological people and that there was no archaeological evidence for any people known as the Hittites. Then in the past couple of hundred years, artifacts began showing up about 100 miles east of Ankara – which is the capital of Turkey – with information about a people of the land of Hatti. In 1906, an archaeologist by the name of Hugo Winckler excavated over 10,000 clay tablets of the royal Hittite Library. Once again, the Bible stands true.

But the history of Hittite people is somewhat complex. There were Hittites living in the land when Abraham came to Canaan. In fact, he bought a plot of land to bury Sarah from Ephron the Hittite. Later God promised Joshua in Joshua 1:4 that he would give them “all the land of the Hittites.”

Was Uriah part of the Hittites who lived in the North in Asia Minor or was he part of the Hittites in the South who lived in Canaan? Not sure. One Hattushathing we know for sure. He was a follower of the Living and True God. The name Uriah means – “Yahweh is my Light.” This is not just some Semitic name. It is a testimony of someone who has come to know the Living God.

I’ve heard people say – “Bathsheba probably tricked David into lusting after her and she was just as much to be blamed.” We can have a lot of ideas and imaginations, but if you stick with the facts – from start to finish David was the culprit. Not a single time does it say that Bathsheba tricked David. Instead, 2 Samuel 11:4 “Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.” It was nothing more than sheer intimidation.

David – the sweet psalmist of Israel; the shepherd king, and a man after God’s own heart. Now, he was just an adulterer.

Application: Have you been disappointed by people you thought you could trust? Give them to the Lord.

3. HER PAINFUL LIFE

5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” 

You know what followed – David brought Uriah back from the battlefield and was all nice to him and tried to send him home to Bathsheba. Uriah did not go home. Then, he tried to get him drunk and again tried to send him home to Bathsheba. Uriah did not go home. Finally, David sent a letter with Uriah to Joab ordering his execution. Sure enough, in an act of treachery, Uriah was killed along with some other men on the frontlines.

When Bathsheba heard about this – she mourned for him. (2 Samuel 11:26)

Again, this message is not on David. But just a word or two – No one is immune to sin. Sometimes people are disappointed when famous Christians fall into sin as if they were above temptations. In fact, that’s when temptations get more intense. Alan Redpath wrote, “The higher the pinnacle of blessing, authority, and publicity he has attained by grace, the deeper and more staggering can be his collapse.” In other words, the taller the tree, the bigger the sound it makes when it hits the ground.

How about David? 2 Samuel 11:27a And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. As far as David was concerned, it was all good. But 2 Samuel 11:27b “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

You know the rest – God sent Nathan to confront David and according to God’s judgment, the child died. For the second time, Bathsheba had to mourn again because it says in 2 Samuel 12:24 “Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife…”

Something else happened – Remember, Bathsheba’s grandfather Ahithophel. When Absalom, David’s son, led a revolt/mutiny against his own father, Ahithophel decided to side with Absalom. 2 Samuel 15:31 Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” Any wonder?!! As far as he was concerned, David had destroyed the marriage of his granddaughter and killed her husband. He gave some horrible advice to Absalom that had nothing do with God. It was to go and rape David’s concubines. Then he gave more advice on how to trap David. But 2 Samuel 17:14 For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom. Absalom refused to listen to Ahithophel. How did Ahithophel take all this? 2 Samuel 17:23  “Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died…”

Again, I bet Bathsheba more than likely mourned for her grandfather.

How tragic! Sin has a snowball effect. As it rolls down the hill, it just gets bigger and bigger and until it bursts.

Application: Never forget that none of us sins in isolation. Our sins have an impact for generations to come.

4. HER GRACEFILLED LIFE

Is that it? 2 Samuel 12:24 “So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the LORD loved him.”

Application: Maybe you have been a victim of similar pain. God is with you. He is willing to show you His grace. He is willing to work all things together for good. Have you turned everything to Him? Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? -3

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 3 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whose in your family treeFor the past two Sundays we met 2 “unusual characters” in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, women who had a questionable past. This morning, we meet the third woman who was at the rock bottom in every way but she too found grace in the sight of God and was grafted into the family tree of Jesus. The message – God has always been a God of grace, not just towards His chosen people but also to all people.

Matthew 1:1-6 1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2   Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

Overall Background: Four women, four questionable lives but one family tree, that of Jesus Christ. Why did Matthew do that? Why did he insert the names of women who had an embarrassing and questionable past? He wanted us to know that God is a God of grace. He is a God who loves to forgive and reconcile and restore and bless all who are willing to come to Him. He is the God of all peoples. He doesn’t play favorites but He loves to show His favor to any who want it!

So far we met Tamar – a Canaanite widow who tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her. She had twins and one of them became the ancestor of Jesus. Then we met Rahab – a Canaanite prostitute who helped God’s people and after Jericho was destroyed, she also became part of the lineage of Jesus. In fact, she became the princess of Judah. Now we meet the third woman – Ruth, a woman who was at rock bottom and nadir of life in every way but she also found grace in the eyes of God.

Application: This morning, you may feel that you are at that rock bottom place in your life. I’m here to tell you that God is with you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t abandoned you. In fact, He wants to bless you. Look to Him in complete faith and give it all to Him. He will not fail you. If you don’t know Jesus, then you are not just at a rock bottom place but you are headed to a bottomless pit. You need to be saved today.

3 things we will understand about Ruth:

 1. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM GENEALOGICALLY

Ruth 1:1a   Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land.

Background: The time of the judges was a very difficult time in the life of the people of Israel. There was no king, there was no leader and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. So you can imagine the lawlessness, crime, and moral chaos all over the land. On top of that – there was a famine in the land.

Ruth 1:1b And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. Here we meet a family living 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem in the city of Bethlehem. Ironically, Bethlehem is literally “the place of food/bread” but it had no food. So the man (Elimelech) took his wife (Naomi) and their two sons and went 50 miles Southeast into Moabite country. This was no ordinary decision – moving to Moab was probably the last desperate resort of an Israelite.

Who were the Moabites? We meet them in Genesis 19. You remember how God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Because ofRuth Moab and Judah Abraham’s intervention, Lot and his wife and two daughters were allowed to escape Sodom. Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his two daughters fled into the mountains where they had no prospect of finding any husbands. So they came up with a wicked scheme to get Lot drunk and have an incestuous relationship with him. The older one had a child and his name was Moab. This was the genesis of the Moabites. How tragic and embarassing!

For e.g. Many years ago I was talking to this young man who had been through prison and had a long record. He had couple of kids that he hadn’t seen in years. Then, he was looking for a job but he couldn’t get one because of his record. So one day I sat with him and very piously I began to tell him all things that he needed to straighten out in his life. Little did I expect what I was about to hear – He began by telling me that he wasn’t sure who his dad was. I said to him – “There are a lot of people who don’t know who their dad was but they made it anyways.” Then he said to me – “I’ve heard through family that it was my own grandfather who raped my mom. You know how that makes me feel. Why did God allow that?”

Folks – We live in a messed up world. Things like this are the product of sin in this world. God allowed it because of the free will of human beings.

So you can imagine how the Moabites felt about themselves. But, there’s more – the Moabites hated the people of Israel. Probably because Uncle Abraham’s descendants knew the real story of Lot’s descendants. When the people of Israel were in the wilderness, the Moabites refused to help them and actively tried to harass them. Several times they had invaded Israel. So what did God say about this? Deuteronomy 23:3, 6      3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever…6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

Ruth 1:4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth.

Ruth’s family tree began with incest. Ruth’s ancestors hated the people of God. Ruth and her people were forbidden to come into the assembly of God.

Application: You cannot choose your past. Some of you born into situations that was out of your control. You can either waste your time looking back or you can like Paul say – Philippians 3:13 “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” You can only choose the present and the future.

2. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM CIRCUMSTANTIALLY 

5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died…”

Background: Not sure why this happened – maybe some sickness – both the sons died and Ruth and Orpah were widowed. It was quite common in the ancient world where women survived men. There used to a large number of widows in many period in ancient times. Being a widow was a very tough situation. Unless you had a good family or a lot of money, it was over for you.

Since there was nothing left for Naomi in Moab and she had heard that things were better in Judah, she decided to head back. So in verse 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” And after many tears, Orpah went back but not Ruth. Listen to her famous words, sometimes read during weddings: Ruth 1:16 “…Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.”

Wow! What would cause a Moabite widow to say this to her mother-in-law who could not do anything for her?

People often say to me – “Times are tough. We don’t know what we’re going to do.” People have always lived in tough times. It’s called life. Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” How you handle tough times makes the difference. Some people just run at the sight of trouble. They miss God’s purpose for their life. Other people just grit their teeth and bear trouble. They too miss God’s purpose for their life. Then there are those people who submit to God and His will in trouble. They are the ones who thrive because God works all things together for good.

For some reason, Ruth understood that principle, even though she was probably lost. By the way, that was her Pre-Cross, Old Testament Sinner’s Prayer. Can you find a better sinner’s prayer than this – For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” We need to make that the Sinner’s Prayer but say it to Jesus not Naomi.

Application: How are you handling your circumstances? Are you running off like Orpah or are you submitting to God like Ruth?

3. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM PROVIDENTIALLY

Background: Naomi and Ruth finally make it to Bethlehem. Naomi was probably thinking – “We left Bethlehem and moved to Moab. No wonder God punished me by taking my husband and my two sons. Now I have a Moabite daughter-in-law who won’t take no for an answer. I don’t know how these people will treat us.” She’s fearing the worst but listen to what happens – Ruth 1:19 “And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’”

God had already prepared the hearts of the people.

Ruth 2:1 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.

God had already prepared a wealthy man in Elimelech’s family who could be a source of help.

Ruth 2:8   Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

God had already prepared the heart of Boaz to be kind to Ruth.

Per Naomi’s advice, she approached Boaz and offers herself as a bride, not knowing what would happen. Ruth 3:10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.

Again, God had already prepared the heart of Boaz who received her advance gladly.

Ruth 4:9-10 9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife…

Once again by the providential hand of God, a widowed Moabite woman became the wife of the wealthiest man in town. What a picture of the grace of God!

Application: You can either spend your whole life crying over why you’ve had problems in your life or you can, like Ruth, leave behind your past and trust God with your future. He will take you from your rock bottom and raise you to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Do you know Him?

 

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE?

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 1 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whose in your family treeWe’re in our ongoing series on the life of Christ titled, “WHAT IF GOD LIVED NEXT DOOR?” For the next few weeks I will be preaching a miniseries from Matthew chapter 1, titled, “WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE?” All of us would like to think that we have some royalty or famous personality in our family tree when what we find are just some common people and some crazy ones! Someone said – “I shook my family tree and a bunch of nuts fell out!” This morning we will see the family tree of Jesus and it had some nuts in it too. The lesson there is that God’s grace can cover you no matter who you have in your past.

Matthew 1:1-6 1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2   Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

Overall Background: Matthew began his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t unusual in ancient times to begin the biography of a famous character with their genealogy. It was a matter of pride to list all the great individuals in one’s pedigree.

For e.g. Some years back I was reading the account of the life of General Robert E. Lee. His family tree could be traced all the way back to the Norman Conquest when his ancestor entered England in 1066 AD with William the Conqueror. His great-great-great-grandfather Richard Lee came to Jamestown with hardly anything and in time became one of the richest men in the Virginia colony. Later his father Henry Lee fought in the Revolutionary War and became the ninth governor of Virginia. Some of the family included William Randolph, Thomas Jefferson, and Zachary Taylor.

So also, Matthew mentioned the “illustrious” names such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the patriarchs. He mentioned David – the greatest King of Israel and the man after God’s own heart. He mentioned Solomon – the king of Israel and the wisest man who ever lived. But, he did something that no genealogy does. He also mentioned some “not so illustrious” names. In fact, he mentioned the names of four women, which was very unusual. Not only that, but Matthew chose to mention women who were not exemplary characters like Sarah or Rebecca or Rachel. Instead, he mentioned Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba – women who had an embarrassing past. Past that we would rather leave buried in history.

Why did Matthew do that? Some of you may have been through this series before. Because he wanted his readers to know that God did not choose just the best of the best to bring His Son into this world but also the undesirables. He wanted his readers to know that Jesus was the Savior of the decent people as well as the outcast. He wanted his readers to know the grace of God in Jesus’ lineage.

Application: This morning, I’m sure there are people here who wish or have wished at some point that they had a different family or that they were born under different circumstances. Or you look at your past and wish it were different. But God in His sovereign grace has given you the life He has. Stop seeing yourself as a mistake. He allowed your family tree to grow as it did. Trust Him.

In this message we will look at the life of the first woman who is mentioned – Tamar. As we walk through her life, let God show you the same grace that she received.

1. INNOCENT BYSTANDER

Background: The first time we meet Tamar is in Genesis 38 where she is just an innocent bystander. Actually, the focus is not on Tamar but on the family of Jacob. If you remember, in Genesis 37, Jacob had sent his son Joseph to check on his older brothers. When he finally found them in Dothan, he wasn’t prepared for what was about to come. His brothers hated him and when he was far off, they conspired to kill him. But the older brother Reuben talked them out of it to just throw him into a pit. He was hoping that he could later get him out and take him back home.

Reuben probably left to check on the sheep or something and just then the brothers saw a company of Ishmaelite traders coming and one of the brothers named Judah (remember that name) said in Genesis 37:26-28 26 …“What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened.

Judah did not have the guts to stand up and say – “This is not right. Let’s not do this to him. He’s our brother. Our father has sent him to us.” Instead, he decided to do play on words. At least we’re not going to kill him.

Application: Be careful about doing play on words. God knows the heart. We cannot fool Him. He knows when we have sin in our hearts.

So in Genesis 37:28 “…Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.”

Now Reuben comes and looks in the pit and its empty. He is distraught. What’s their plan? They take a young goat and kill it and dip Joseph’s tunic in its blood and take it to their father Jacob. He is heart-broken and says – “I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.”

But look in the next chapter Genesis 38:1-2 It came to pass at that time that Judah departed from his brothers, and visited a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. 2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua, and he married her and went in to her.

Judah is thinking – “Out of sight, out of mind. As long as I don’t have to see my father’s face, I don’t have to think of Joseph”

Application: People do all kinds of things to get away from sin. The only place to deal with sin is to get on your face before God and say – “Here I am. Deal with me as you see fit.” He will bring out the knife and scalpel. It will hurt but the result will be healing. If you run from it, it will only fester.

And fester it did – Genesis 38:3-7 3 So she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. 4 She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan. 5 And she conceived yet again and bore a son, and called his name Shelah. He was at Chezib when she bore him. 6 Then Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD killed him.

The fruit doesn’t fall far from the root. Judah – “You killed somebody’s child. Now, you know what it means to loose your child.”

Application: How can we teach our children to do what’s right when there is deception in our own hearts.

 What is even sadder is that Tamar became the innocent bystander who got hurt in this sin.

2. ACTIVE SINNER

Now Tamar’s first husband is dead and so according to the laws of the Levirate marriage, Judah told his next son Onan to marry Tamar. But Onan refused to father a child by Tamar and Genesis 38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD; therefore He killed him also.

As we read this account, we feel for Tamar. One after the other she has sorrow in her life because of someone else’s sin.

How does Judah handle this? Genesis 38:11 Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.

But Judah has no intention of letting Tamar marry his third son.

What a mess! As Walter Scott wrote in his poem Marmion: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!”

How does Tamar handle this? Genesis 38:13-15   13 And it was told Tamar, saying, “Look, your father-in-law is going up to TimnahTamar to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face.

Now it’s payback time.

Application: Tit for tat never works. You can spend all your life planning on paying back someone for what they’ve done to you but revenge will not satisfy.

Now Tamar has gone from an innocent bystander to being an active sinner.

3. GRACE RECIPIENT

Background: Tamar makes a deal with Judah for a young goat from the flock. Of course, he doesn’t have the goat with him so as collateral she asks for his signet ring, cord, and his staff. Later when Judah sent the goat, no harlot was found obviously.

Now listen to Judah’s plan. Still the same old weasel – Genesis 38:23 Then Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, lest we be shamed; for I sent this young goat and you have not found her.” Now 3 months later, it was obvious that Tamar was pregnant.

So listen to Judah’s indignation – Genesis 38:24 “…So Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!”

Quite amazing to me how soft we are at our own sins and harsh at the sins of others.

For e.g. People blocking each other in traffic on the closed lane.

But when she confronts Judah with his signet, cord, and staff, it is obvious who the father was. Listen to Judah’s response in Genesis 38:26 “So Judah acknowledged them and said, “She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son.”

Now we could end this incident here with a few reminders on “what goes around comes around” and “what you reap is what you sow” but the incident is still not over.

Tamar was pregnant with twins. She goes into labor and one of them appears to be the first and so the midwife ties a scarlet thread on his hand but listen to what happens next. Genesis 38:29 Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, “How did you break through? This breach be upon you!” Therefore his name was called Perez.

Perez became part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. As Matthew 19:30 says “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

It’s a message of grace.

Application: You can either blame your past for all the mess you are in or you can let God bring His grace to bear upon you and bless you in spite of what you had to go through. It doesn’t matter what skeletons you have in your past, God is able to use you if you let Him. The place to begin is by receiving Jesus as your Savior.

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