Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz, the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth.
Obed, the father of Jesse.
And Jesse, the father of King David.
~Matthew 1:5 The Genealogy of Jesus
At the beginning of the summer, my mother plopped an
intense, twelve week discipleship course called Godly Character
by Vinnie Carafano in front of me. I’d known it was coming for a
month or two, and had picked out who was to be my mentor –
Lindsey, my voice teacher and brand new mommy to baby Eli-, but
that was in May.
I love being a Christian. I love Jesus Christ, I love
praising Him, and I love my faith with every fiber of my being.
There’s nothing like popping in my Casting Crowns CD or turning
on K-LOVE and singing along, my way of prayer. Or just talking
to God while I clean my room or walk down the little back roads
around my house.
But I am so not a Bible reader.
This is… less than desirable. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes
I feel the urge to open that really, REALLY big, INTIMIDATING
book and just read. But I also have the urge for structure.
Chaos is cool, if I have structure to go along with it. I’d had
no idea where to begin reading. To me, that was utter chaos.
Godly Character begins with the New Testament. (There’s the
structure I was looking for!) I opened my book to Matthew and
started reading, prepared to (I’ll be honest) completely skim
over Jesus’s genealogy.
Until I saw the name Rahab.
Back in the winter, when I actually had time to read, I
came across a book in a mega-church library called Pearl in the
Sand by Tessa Afshar. It was the love story of Rahab, the
prostitute who had been saved because of her faith, and Salmon,
leader of the tribe of Judah. I loved the book. Girls out there,
if you’re fluffy like myself, and love Biblical love stories, go
for this book.
At the end of the book (No spoilers! I promise!) they
mention Boaz, Rahab and Salmon’s first son and later, husband of
Ruth. When I first finished that lovely piece of romantic
literature, it didn’t quite register. Until I read the first page of Matthew months and months later.
Jesus’s ancestor was a Canaanite prostitute.
Ms. Afshar provides some insight to what might have been
Rahab’s past and historical truth. In Jericho and other
Canaanite cities, many fathers sold their daughters into
prostitution when times were rough. Whatever money the daughter
made, a portion of it was given to the family. Sometimes, this
situation was considered an honor. This easily could have been
our heroine’s story.
The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how Rahab’s faith came
about. We just know that this was a faith we all should admire
and strive for. She risked her life for two men, whom she had
just met, hid them in her inn, and asked that they spare her.
How could she have done that without faith? For all she knew,
those men could be lying. They would forget about her. Her faith
kept her strong. God showed himself to a prostitute, a Canaanite
And she was richly rewarded. After Jericho was demolished,
Rahab and her family were accepted by the Israelites, and she
became an ancestor of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Let’s switch to Salmon, her husband for a sec. This guy was
the leader of the tribe of Judah. Yet, he married Rahab, whom
everyone knew was a famous prostitute in Jericho. This wasn’t a
marriage to gain wealth. This wasn’t arranged. This marriage
wasn’t for political power. This was love. An unconditional
love. Why else would a great leader, a friend of Joshua, a
commander in the Israelite army, marry a former prostitute?
Salmon was deeply in love with this woman.
This wasn’t just love, it was grace. God’s grace long
before Jesus came into the world. The Israelites had incredibly
strict rules about who they associated with, what they touched,
and who touched what they touched.
We think of the God of the Old Testament as strict and
angry and jealous, sometimes forgetting He’s more than just
hellfire and instead, filled with fiery love. Rahab was His
child, just like Salmon was, like Joshua was. And He loved her,
as He did His chosen people. This broken woman was indeed a
pearl in the sand, a lost treasure.
We’re all sort of like that, lost treasure. Pearls in the
sand of the world. Like Rahab, the sand around may be deep and
thick, and it takes drastic measure to dig us out. Some are
blessed with wind to carry away the light grains, allowing them
to be revealed in the sunlight.
We’re all pearls. We’re all in different sand. But it takes
a loving God and his gentle touch to show us there is more than
just sand. It won’t always be a Salmon, or spies, or the
freaking tumbling down of Jericho. But He’s there. He’s digging
us out, even if we sink deeper.
We’re not just any pearls, we’re His pearls.