Israel, a nation descended from Abraham chosen to be a people of God who came to be called the friend of God (James 2:23). They were called to trust in the Lord for provision from the days of Joseph (Genesis 45:7). They were the only nation called to praise and worship the living God. The tribes of Israel were shepherded through the wilderness by God with the tabernacle in their midst in all their journeys (Exodus 40:38).
They witnessed the marvel and wonder of his plans and purposes for them as seen in Leviticus. God wanted to walk among them, grant them peace, victory and fruitfulness (Leviticus 26). In Deuteronomy 10:12, the essence of the Law is addressed to one and only one people. “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
The bible is a record of God’s relationship with His people.
Yet a few generations later, the book of Judges ends on a despairing note. Judges 21:25 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
In the very next book we meet Ruth, who when faced with tragic loss and a dead end, chose to take refuge under the God of Israel and fulfilled her obligations to Naomi (Ruth 2:12). Ruth was a Moabite, who abandoned the idols of her people and instead honoured the LORD of Israel and the traditions of a people unknown to her.
The people blessed her thus “ May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman.” When she married Boaz, the Son of Salmon and Rahab the harlot (1 Chronicles 2:10,), it was so that she could birth Obed, the grandfather of King David (Mathew 1:5,6). Twenty eight generations down that line, Joseph was born to be the husband of Mary and to be written into the word of God in the genealogy of Christ.
When we read the genealogy of Christ in Mathew 1, we see him mention Tamar (Genesis 38), Rahab (Joshua 2:8), Ruth and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). Each of these women had histories marred with harlotry, adultery or dead husbands. They were redeemed from being destroyed or ostracised as they were engrafted into families that God allowed to be written into the Messianic Line.
In Jeremiah 2:21, God says about Israel born of Abraham “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?”
In Jeremiah 23:5,6 we see the prophesy about Jesus “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness… Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
In Hosea 1:9, God demonstrated Israel’s broken relationship with Him. “For you are not My people, And I will not be your God.” Yet in the same breath God is declaring His abiding love to this adulterous nation saying “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’ Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together.”
The bible is a record of God’s relationship with His people. It is the record of reconciliation between creator and creation. It is also a story of The Father’s endless love for His children. The bible bears witness to the on and off nature of human capacity to stay in the love of God. It also proves that humanity failed to obey the laws or meet the standards set by God.
Throughout biblical history, no man was able to bridge the gap in righteousness between him and God. Until Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled the law, met God’s standards, stayed in the love of God and obeyed. We had no way of reaching God, so Jesus became the way.
In John 15, Jesus says “I am the true vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love…”
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:26-29).
Each of us may have a history as broken and sordid as Israel or Rahab or Ruth. We may be struggling with dead things in our lives. We may be staring at dead ends. But the word of God promises that if we believe in Christ we are redeemed and adopted as sons of God engrafted into Gods love that His joy may be in us.