However, I have been pleasantly surprised to learn a few valuable lessons from a dry old list of names.
It is worthy to note that the genealogy in Matthew 1 mentions five women! It's rare for one woman to be named in a genealogy like this, let alone five. The five woman are: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Besides the fact that imperfect people ("sinners") make out part of the genealogy of Jesus, the first wow is ....
David & Bathsheba, the parents of Solomon
Mistakes can be part of God's plan
Their relationship started out as adultery. Bathsheba was married to Uriah. David sent Uriah into battle, making sure all his supporting men would withdraw as the battle heated up so Uriah would be killed. Murder, adultery.. not exactly a spotless background.
What stands out for me in this is that even though we may sin, make a sinful, wrong choice and have to deal with consequences of that sin (David & Bathsheba's first baby died) ... many times what we want to think of as a "mistake" or wrong choice is something God uses in the bigger picture of life as part of His plan. He uses everything for His glory.
The second wow is...
Prostitute by profession
I read about Rahab again recently while reading about the fall of Jericho and then someone pointed out to me that she is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. I immediately checked for myself! *smile* I never made the connection that it was THIS Rahab. What it boils down to is that Rahab was a prostitute, not a Jew, who hid some Israelite spies and saved their lives, and therefore she was saved when the city of Jericho was destroyed. She went on to become the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth.
Our sin, our past, doesn't keep God from using us. Those whom the church would judge as unfit outsiders are sometimes the very people God wants to use!
1 Samuel 16:7The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
Romans 2:11For God does not show favoritism.
Romans 8:28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
To end, my bible's footnote says Romans 8:28 can also read:
And we know in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good—with those who have been called according to His purpose.