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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Scandalous Grace

His choice shocked everyone.  Of all the pious, chaste and committed women in the county, he chose her!
What in the world was he thinking? Elizabeth, Mary, Acquila, Priscillia,  Maude, and his choice was Tamar? Seriously?  Was he addled in the brain? Did Tamar's father influence his choice with cattle? Or with produce from his large farm? Could her brothers have threatened the master? For crying out loud, she was no better than a common prostitute and a murderer.  She had killed Er and then Onan but since she hadn't been caught red-handed, there was nothing to be done about it. Everyone just pointed accusing fingers,  but no one could cast a stone at her. Even her father-in-law was afraid for his youngest son Shelah and decided to send her packing. Like that wasn't enough, she got pregnant in her fathers house. Surely, she deserved to be stoned to death with the evil spawn growing in her womb?
Instead, all we heard was that He had chosen her- Tamar.
She was an International prostitute. Everyone knew who she was and what she did. Despite the fact that she was shunned publicly,  she still had a vast clientele that consisted of the rulers of the land. Her family resigned themselves to the stigma attached to her. They really didn't have a choice to throw her out. You see, she was the bread winner in the family. Even though they knew she was destined for doom, they loved her regardless. Times were indeed very hard, and if she could keep them in luxury,  then there was no need biting the hand that fed them. Rahab. She was a celebrated whore. Yet, she was the only one saved (and her whole family) when the town was destroyed. In a puff, the entire city was brought to its knees. How ironic, as fortified as it was, yet a single stone wasn't used to conquer it.
She had been a good girl all her life. Everything worked out well for her. She was pretty, had it all going for her. She married a man in his youth. Her husband was her pride and joy. He was a foreigner living in her land. Together, they made a blazing couple. She with her well endowed body, graceful and smart, he with his body like a demi-god. They were the power couple everyone aspired to be like. Suddenly, he died leaving her alone with his mother and his late brother's wife. They were unified in life and in death, the 3 widows.
Her name was Ruth, and she moved back to the foreign land with her mother in law. Life became difficult. No longer did she always have it all. She had to work doubly hard to get a meal to eat each day and gather resources to clothe not just her back but also her mother-in-law's back as well. She never complained. In her desperation to get a better life, she threw herself at the feet of the rich man who had been kind to her.
She of all people did not deserve to have been in the line. She was a foreigner after all, and didn't even belong to the line of chosen people. But still he chose her.
"She had an amazing body" he thought to himself. Her breasts were firm and well rounded. Her hips reminded him of an abundant field blessed by God. He just had to have her. She was summoned to the presence of the number one citizen and she didn't reveal the fact that she was married. She welcomed his advances and together they danced the forbidden dance. Stolen waters were indeed sweet. Bathsheba.
She was an adulteress and yet he saw her fit for his purpose.
All the women he chose were tainted. None was without flaw. None was blameless. Each one had a dirty past, something to be ashamed of yet he deemed them worthy of grace. Worthy of the calling.  He didn't choose the ones without sin, for they would have seen themselves as perfect, not needing redemption or help.
He bequeathed them with grace. Grace that meant unmerited favor. Grace that was full of love he alone was capable of giving.
With the grace given, each tainted jewel was washed clean, made brand new. Given another chance. Each woman took it and made good use of it because they knew what it was like to have been dirty, and could appreciate the opportunity to be clean.
Grace was given to women who today are known as the mothers of Jesus the Christ. Through the death of Christ, the same grace is available to you.
Do. Not. Throw. This. Opportunity.  Away.