News Articles

Jesus’ genealogy, they write, includes 5 ‘unlikely’ women

WASHINGTON (BP)–Quick — what do Rahab, Tamar and Bathsheba have in common? All “bad girls” of the Bible, right? Actually, each is included in the Gospel of Matthew’s genealogy of Christ, according to Beverly LaHaye and Janice Shaw Crouse.

In their book, “The Strength of a Godly Woman,” LaHaye and Crouse draw lessons from the lives of Rahab, Tamar and Bathsheba along with Mary and Ruth.

Published in hardcover last summer as “A Different Kind of Strength,” the book has just been re-released in paperback with the new title.

Both women and men have found the lessons applicable to modern life. Mark Daniels, host of “On the Mark,” aired on WFIL-AM in Philadelphia, wrote, “I couldn’t put it down. It’s been years since a book has affected me so deeply.” Franklin Graham said, “Beverly LaHaye and Janice Crouse have written an extraordinarily insightful book that I highly recommend. I believe that God will inspire each reader through the stories and lessons.”

When some women speak of strength, they mean control, but LaHaye and Crouse are writing about “Timothy power,” the strength that comes when God enables, when women are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

“The message that we wanted to bring to women today is that Christ can transform your life, regardless of what your background is, what your human failings are, what your sins have been, and what mistakes you’ve made,” Crouse said in an interview. “Christ can take those things, and use them for his glory if you are willing to repent and turn to him and let him transform your life.”

Indeed — Tamar was an abandoned widow who seduced her father-in-law and bore him twin sons. Rahab was a prostitute. Bathsheba, an adulteress. But, LaHaye said, “The Lord delights in raising up unlikely people. That’s the thing that was just fascinating to us. Christ delights in our humanity, not that he relishes our sins or our weaknesses, but he accepts who we are.”

Crouse added, “Obviously, these are important women, or they would not have been included in Matthew’s account of the lineage of Christ. I think it is significant that they are not exactly superwomen — these are very ordinary women, very believable women. And the Scriptures record them, warts and all. It does not shirk from revealing all of their human failures, all of their weaknesses, all the things that we would think should exempt them from being part of Scripture. Yet God put them there for a purpose.”

One of the most obvious factors unifying the five women in Christ’s genealogy is that they were all in pretty hopeless situations — Tamar’s life had fallen apart, Rahab had no way out, Ruth’s life seemed empty, Bathsheba’s dreams had died and Mary’s life seemed overwhelming. “All of them had to put their fate into God’s hands,” LaHaye said, “and all of their lives illustrate God’s provision when there were no human solutions to their circumstances.

“The lives of these biblical women were full of catastrophe on top of catastrophe, yet they give us examples of courage, fortitude and perseverance,” LaHaye continued. “In the face of uncertain and chaotic futures, they refused to give in to despair. Though in great pain and turmoil, when they had the opportunity to act, they stepped into their uncertain future with what I call ‘proactive patience.'”

“One of my favorite images in the book is from the story of Rahab,” Crouse said. “I wondered why, when she knew that Jericho was going to fall at any moment, was she up there on that roof, working on flax?” Crouse noted an important spiritual lesson — God expects his people to continue to do the tasks he sets in front of them. “It is his job to work out the solution for our problems and to work out the path we need to take,” she said. “Our job is to do the task in front of us and trust him.”

Crouse said she found it moving to look at these stories in light of her daughter and daughter-in-law, who are young adults. Young women today face some very common problems such as being overwhelmed or suffering from low self-esteem. The driving force behind the book, she said, is to say to young women, “Christ has a plan for your life. He is in control — regardless of what happens in your life, regardless of what mistakes you make, regardless of how you fail — he is faithful.”

Surrender to him and let him take control, Crouse counseled; he will work out a perfect plan for each of his followers. “And while it may seem difficult and you may feel as Ruth did — her life was shattered and empty and things were broken all around her — God had something very special for her. The difficulties that God brought into her life were not meant to break her or crush her, but to open her up and reveal his perfect plan,” Crouse said.

LaHaye cited “a little saying that I have used in talking with women for many years — ‘God doesn’t take us through deep waters to drown us, but to cleanse us.'”
Chismar is senior editor for the News & Culture channel at Crosswalk.com.

    About the Author

  • Janet Chismar