Day 61: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 61: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

This Christmas season, we’re inquiring why God chose the town of Bethlehem, to have his only Son born there.  God does not do whimsical things, so his choice has intent behind it.  We saw in our last devotion, that the Lord targeted Bethlehem by a stellar revelation – a star guided Wise Men from the East, leading them right to where the child Jesus was staying (Matt 2:2, 10).  In addition, we noted that Old Testament prophecy had revealed the exact location where the Messiah was to be born: O Bethlehem…from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Mic. 5:2).  Someone eternal, is going to be born in Bethlehem!

Yet there is more intriguing information concerning the question of — why Bethlehem?  We noted from the very first chapter of the New Testament, there is a genealogy about Jesus, and there are five women listed, which is uncommon.  Jewish tradition used just male ancestors. Read Matthew 1:1-16. The genealogy has colossal meaning, but we are focused on the women.  The women are: Tamar (1:3); Rahab, Ruth (1:5); Bathsheba [the wife of Uriah] (1:6); Mary (1:16).  They have powerful stories. Their lives flavor the life of Jesus.

The four ahead of Mary, have checkered backgrounds. Rahab and Ruth were enemies of the Israelites, people who despised the Jews. Tamar, Rahab, Bathsheba all had terrible reputations, from immoral behaviors.  These were seriously stained women.  Enemies and immoral, not the kind of persons you want as your ancestors, but they’re in Jesus’ background.  This illustrates that God can redeem people’s lives and reconstitute them for glorious purposes.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lk. 9:10).

Tamar deceived her father-in-law, to sleep with her to become pregnant (Gen 38).  He was Judah, the progenitor of the tribe of Judah that would birth the Kingly line of Israel – Jesus, King of the Jews (Matt 27:37).  Rahab was a prostitute, who saved Jewish spies in Jericho (Josh. 2). Ruth was a Moabite, whose ancestry went back to Lot and his daughters (Gen. 19).  Lot’s daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, got him drunk, slept with him to get pregnant.  One daughter birthed the Ammonites, the other the Moabites, who became virulent enemies of Israel.  Then, Bathsheba, her reputation so tarnished, her name is not listed in Matt 1.  She is listed as: the wife of Uriah (Matt 1:6).  David sexually molested her, then murdered her husband Uriah (2 Sam 11).  Goodness!

Then comes Mary, and she lived in Nazareth (Luke 1:26, 27).  Surely her background is beyond reproach: Nazareth had a terrible reputation.  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn. 1:46). It was close to the Roman garrison town of Sepphoris, where women from Nazareth, went to entertain the soldiers for money.  This reputation followed Mary, though she was innocent. There was a rumor about Jesus being illegitimate.  The Pharisees claimed this: They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. (Jn. 8:41).  They were snide in inferring his mother’s reputation.

Goodness, if I was God, I would not orchestrate my Son’s heritage this way.  I would provide impeccable credentials.  Again, the Lord does not think like me.  The Lord is not afraid of the past. He can reconstitute our past into a redemptive present, then a glorious future – as He did with these women.  Your reputation, your history is not who you are.

But these five women have another common characteristic.  They all had ties with Bethlehem.  Hmmmm, the Lord is throwing hints at us, if we want to dig deeper. The Lord is doubling down, making sure that the entire world knows something super-important will be transpiring in this little town.  Let’s review these women again.

Tamar’s reputation gets cleaned up, from being tarnished.  The women of Bethlehem take note of her: and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.” (Ruth 4:12).  Perez was Tamar’s child, and his lineage was one of courage and character: All the sons of Perez who lived in Jerusalem were 468 valiant men. (Neh. 11:6).  So out of infamy came nobility.  Tamar’s life points to Bethlehem, through the life of her son, Perez.

Rahab the prostitute from Jericho, married one of those Jewish spies – Salmon.  They had a child, whose name was Boaz, who lived in — Bethlehem.  By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. (Heb. 11:31).  Boaz was a man of action, just like his mother Rahab. Later, James the half-brother of Jesus says: And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? (Jas. 2:25).  By Rahab’s bold, can-do attitude, and faith, she received the privilege of being in the earthly ancestry of Jesus – King of the Jews.  There’s opportunity for you to be bold and faithful.

Ruth the Moabite.  The Moabites were so despised by the Lord, for their irrational hatred of Israel, that “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever. (Deut. 23:3).  Their attitudes and behaviors toward the Lord’s Chosen people were so reprehensible they did not have the privilege, nor did they want the chance to worship Jehovah.  Ruth, married Boaz, and lived – in Bethlehem.  Boaz, unintimidated by tradition, and like his Gentile mother, broke tradition, even taking a Gentile Moabite bride – Ruth.

Their great-grandson was David (Ruth 4:21, 22), who grew up in Bethlehem.  David eventually did become King of Israel, and while king he molested Bathsheba, then murdered her husband.  Then David married Bathsheba.  Their son Solomon became king and was the wisest and wealthiest men in the world.  The Lord redeemed their past.

Bethlehem was a landmark in Biblical history before Mary.  It was a place of renown, a place of redemption, a place of a second chance, a place of safety, a place of community.  That was the place the Lord was going to send Mary to have her baby.  The most significant event in all human history was put in the hands of a teen-aged girl, who came from a depraved hometown, while having impeccable character.

Will the Lord do that with you?  For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Lk. 1:37). Mary married Joseph, and he had a connection with Bethlehem!  You’re going to be impressed how the Lord works that out – next time.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

You’re pretty cool.  How you work circumstances to achieve your will is simply remarkable.  You do this for us today, and not only for the people we read about in the Bible.  You move heaven and earth to reveal yourself to us, so we can have confidence that you are real and have good intentions for us.  I will rejoice in doing them good, (Jer. 32:41). You get a kick out of ministering to us, so we can experience colossal good.  It is not because of our glittering personalities, or good looks, it is because you are good.  Thank you, that we do not have to perform, we can just be your children. So I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. (Jer. 32:42)

Let me live these promises out, even when circumstances flatten my life.  Conditions sometimes are the anvil you use to shape me.  Thank you for your hard work in reshaping me into your image.  Give me a measure of mercy as you work on me, so that I, by your grace can keep my perspective of your work in me.  Even when I recoil at my challenges, let me be like Rahab, or her son Boaz, who rapidly conformed themselves to your vision with their attitudes.  Give me an added measure of your patience when I have fallen, when I have failed to be your ambassador.  Reconstitute me, to be a man of virtue and integrity, so people see you in me.  Let people be thrilled with your influence when they see my behavior.  I want people to see the kindness of an omnipotent God, who loves them.  I pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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