Every family tree has a few knots, but thankfully God doesn’t measure us by our lineage. If you examined Jesus’ genealogy, you would find several characters of ill repute. Before Jacob’s death, he prophesied that the Messiah (Jesus) would descend from Judah’s family line. Judah had three sons, but God killed the two oldest sons because of their wickedness. Tamar, the wife of Judah’s firstborn son, should have legally been married to Judah’s next son, Shelah, but she was not. This led Tamar to devise a plan by which she could have children of her own.

Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and sat by the wayside of a road she knew Judah would be traveling. When Judah came, he had relations with her, although he was unaware of her true identity. Through this illicit union, two sons were born to Judah, Pharez and Zarah. Jesus was born into the family line of Pharez.

God did not condone the series of events which led to the birth of Judah’s sons, but He used them to fulfill His plan of maintaining the royal bloodline of Christ. You might say He wrote straight with crooked lines. He does the same in our lives. Broken pieces from your past and dishonorable deeds committed by your ancestors may become the means through which He positions you to fulfill His purpose. Don’t look back with disdain; look forward in earnest anticipation of what God will do in your life.

Do you think God is limited by your pedigree or your checkered past? Think again. Your family background may serve God’s purpose. He may use experiences from your past to prepare you for future ministry opportunities. The unique plans He has for you in the future are limited only by the choices you make today. Determine not to let the past weigh you down.


Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.

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