I know we live in a day and age and culture where we all tout that women and men are equal. So perhaps it seems a bit archaic to even ask, “How much does God care about women?” But deep down, I personally have been wondering just that lately. And Matthew 1 showed me that God cares about women. A lot. Check it out.
Chapter one of Matthew contains the genealogy of Jesus. Man after man is listed. Over and over. If you are a woman, you might be wondering how this could possibly show that God cares about women. Well, before you get to Mary and Joseph at the end of the genealogy, God inspired Matthew to include four women. Just four. But check out the four that He included.
Do you see it?!
The first thing that jumped out at me is that all four of these women had been with at least one other man before being with the father of the child that got these women in Matthew 1. Interesting. These weren’t women from a fairy tale with their prince charming. They had experienced life. Hard life. And now they were in the genealogy of our Lord and Savior.
First, let’s look at Tamar. She married Judah’s son. He was wicked. God killed him. She marries the brother. That was the way things were done at that time. He was wicked. God kills him. Judah had one more son that was a potential mate for Tamar. But he was too young. Judah told her to wait till he was grown and he would be her husband. Tamar, now a widow twice, went and waited. And waited. Judah didn’t keep his promise. Tamar took action. She dressed as a prostitute, had sex with Judah (who didn’t know it was her), and got pregnant. Three months later Judah finds out she’s pregnant (not knowing who the father is) and gets all self-righteous and condemns her to death! She pulls out the proof that the father is actually him! Judah proclaims her more righteous than she.
Now I get we do things very differently now and it might be hard for us to see past the differences in times and culture. But try to focus on all that Tamar has gone through. Two horrible marriages. False accusations. Risked her life. Yet stayed faithful to how things were suppose to be done in their culture.
God honors her by putting her in the genealogy. I find that fascinating!
Second, let’s look at Rahab. The harlot. Not a good start. How many men has she slept with? Who knows?! But one too many for sure! Why in the world would such an immoral woman ever make it into the genealogy of Christ?! Well, Rahab had the one thing that we all must have to please God. Faith. She had heard of the mighty acts of God when He brought Israel out of Egypt and parted the Red Sea. And now this large nation of Israel was at her city, Jericho, ready to destroy it. She believed in God’s power. She wanted to be safe from God’s wrath. And because of her faith and obedience, she and her family members were the only people that survived when Jericho was indeed attacked and destroyed. And on her new path of faith, she also was on her way to being in the genealogy of our Savior!
Ruth has an entire book in the Bible to tell her story, so I’ll let you just read that if you aren’t familiar with all she went through. Like Rahab, her faith in God is inspiring!
Last, we have the incredibly sad and completely unjust story of Bathsheba. Forced sex followed by that same man murdering her husband. Her baby dies. Yet, she maintained faith in God and raised the wisest man to ever live (besides Jesus) and who became one of the many ancestors of Jesus.
God sees what we are going through as women. He sees the unjust actions against us. Yet, He longs for us to see that our faith in Him is what really matters. We are part of God’s story. We aren’t a side note, a leftover detail in creation. We are very much an essential part of God’s plan too. It is imperative that no matter the hardship we are facing as women we choose to have unfailing faith in the God of the impossible. The God who can destroy everything around us yet preserve us whole (Rahab). The God who can bring good out of horrific injustice (Bathsheba). The God who welcomes all people groups (Ruth). The God who sees our every action and cares about the choices we make (Tamar).
God loves women. He cares about us.
I wrote all the above over 18 months ago and have let it just sit here in my drafts pile not sure I’d ever publish it. But, today, on Mother’s Day, my pastor, who is normally an expository preacher, announced that he was going to talk about biblical femininity. My immediate reaction was one of surprise and then curiosity. He proceeded to preach a sermon that tremendously comforted my heart and helped me truly see that God does indeed love women very much. We are a not a second-class citizen. We are not an after-thought. God truly does hold us in high esteem. Some men may not, but God does. I had not realized how much this whole topic had weighed on me till today listening to the clear teaching of Scripture from my pastor and feeling a burden lifted. Let us see ourselves clearly through the eyes of God who stopped all creation to say that man alone was “not good.” Let us humbly embrace and fulfill the divine role God has created especially for our gender.