On the Sidelines

Sometimes we may feel as if God set us on the sidelines to watch others work for him,  while our labor goes unnoticed. We may feel as if our contributions don’t matter as much as the contributions of those who are recognized.

If those thoughts ever flit through our brains, perhaps looking at the story of Uriah the Hittite might put things into better perspective.

Uriah was a loyal soldier in King David’s army. The Bible tells us in the spring, at the time kings went off to war, David sent out his men and the whole Israelite army. The whole army, that is, except King David. (2 Samuel 11)

We are also told once David learned Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, was pregnant with David’s child while her husband was at war, the king sent for Uriah. David hoped the soldier would go home to his wife. But loyal Uriah slept outside the king’s door instead.

Realizing Uriah would not go to Bathsheba, David sent him back to the front lines. The king gave orders to withdrew his men during the battle. Leaving Uriah unprotected. Uriah died on the battlefield. After a time of mourning, David took Bathsheba as his wife.

Although Uriah was not an Israelite, his life was devoted to Yahweh, the one true God. It appears God rewarded Uriah by mentioning his name in Jesus Christ’s genealogy. Bathsheba, however, is listed as the woman who had been Uriah’s wife in many Bible translations and versions.

It may appear to us Uriah was on the sidelines, but God knew exactly where the man was. God honored Uriah’s devotion and service to him. God chose Uriah’s wife to be the mother of King Solomon. She was one of the women through whom Christ would enter this world.

At the same time, God made sure Uriah’s name would not be forgotten.

We may never see our name listed in a Who’s Who of Great Deeds Done for God. And that’s okay. What matters is when we commit our lives to serve God through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, even the least thing we do for him is seen by God and listed in His Book.

Like Uriah, each of us has a part to play in the story God is writing, whether we realize it or not.

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This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar…Nahshon the father of Salmon,  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. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. Matthew 1:2-3a, 5-6 (NLT)

I wish you well.


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Important Enough

In a time in history when women had very little value in society, and were considered property of their fathers and husbands, the book of Matthew included the names of five woman important enough to be recorded in Jesus’ genealogy.

Tamar. A Gentile, whose desire to be part of God’s people and share in the promise given to Judah, pushed her to resort to trickery to have her father-in-law honor his promise to her. (Genesis 38)

Rahab. A Gentile prostitute living in Jericho, who believed in the God who led his people out of Egypt, was saved when she helped two Israelite spies escape. (Joshua 2)

Ruth. Another Gentile. A woman from Moab who chose to identify herself with God’s people when she accompanied her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem after both were widowed. (Ruth)

Bathsheba. Dead Uriah’s wife. (2 Samuel 11)

Mary. The virgin chosen to carry within her womb the Son of God. Of whom was born Jesus. (Luke 1)

Five women. Five different backgrounds. Five different stories. Different personal lives. Different status. Different nationality. It didn’t matter to God. He used each of them, regardless. God’s grace crossed man-made boundaries. It crossed sins. It crossed loss.

What did each woman have? Faith. Faith in a God bigger than themselves. Faith in a God who took their brokenness and brought something wonderful out of it. Faith in a God who deals in redemption and grace. Faith in a God who is faithful even when we are not. Faith in a God who keeps his promises even when we do not.

God’s still in the business of restoration, redemption, and grace. He still uses broken and battered people to achieve his goals. He still loves unconditionally even when we may not be so lovable at times.

Feeling broken, cracked, rejected, defeated?

Just as God used these five women, he can use us. We can all be redeemed, and put back together through his grace. All we have to do is have faith enough to say yes to God, and his son, Jesus Christ.

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah. Matthew 1:3, 5-6, 16

I wish you well.


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