The Lord’s Family Tree

The Lord’s Family Tree

The pace of family life slows down in the summertime, making room for lazy days in the sun at the beach, or skipping rocks in a mountain creek, or catching fireflies in the twilight hours, or churning homemade ice cream on the back porch, or reading a good book during a thunderstorm, or chatting with friends on a balmy evening in a restaurant’s outside seating. 

Often it’s a time to get together with extended family over a backyard barbecue as cousins play games, siblings reconnect, aunts and uncles describe their vacation plans, and grandparents smile at everyone, thankful that their hearing is impaired.

But those extended family times can also carry undercurrents, can’t they? Because families can have a dark side. Every family includes those who have been wounded. Even Christian families. Even church families. Sadly, the most painful wounds are often those inflicted by another family member.  

Have you or another family member experienced those kinds of wounds? God understands, because His  family doesn’t always act like they should, either. His extended family includes the wounded … and the wounders.

The Bible is full of stories about how God’s love is broad enough, deep enough, high enough and long enough to wrap around and heal the wounded heart. Some of the most poignant of these stories are highlighted by women whose names appear in the genealogy that begins Matthew’s Gospel—a list of names that make up the extended family of Jesus Christ. This is His Family Tree.

Read Matthew 1:1-17

Give the names of the five women who are mentioned in His Family Tree, with verses.

Includes the Loveless

  • Give the main facts of Tamar’s story from Genesis 38:11-30.
  • How was Tamar wounded by her family?
  • If you have been wounded by the rejection of your family, how do the following verses comfort and encourage you? Give phrases from Psalm 31:12-17; Lamentations 3:19-24; Isaiah 54:6-8; Isaiah 60:15; John 1:11-12.

Includes the Lost

  • Give the main facts of Rahab’s story from Joshua 2:1-24; 6:12-25.
  • What evidence of the lost spiritual condition of Rahab’s family is given in Deuteronomy 20:16-18?
  • Using your imagination, how do you think Rahab was not only spiritually lost, but had been emotionally wounded before she had even met the spies?
  • Name those in your family who are spiritually lost. Give phrases from the following verses that encourage you in your prayers for them: John 3:16-17; Ezekiel 34:16; Ephesians 2:1-9; Luke 15:3-7, 8-10; John 10:14-15.

Includes the Left-out

  • Give the main facts of Ruth’s story from Ruth 1-4.
  • How had Ruth and her family been left out of God’s family for generations? Deuteronomy 23:3-6.
  • How had Ruth herself been wounded? Ruth 1:3-5.
  • Who in your family has been wounded through death, disease, or divorce while also being left out by God’s family? Which of the following verses could you share to encourage your family member? Genesis 28:15; Psalm 40:2; 1 Peter 2:4; Ephesians 2:11-13; 1:4-6; Hebrews 13:12-14.

Includes the Lawbreaker

  • Who was Uriah the Hittite? 2 Samuel 23:8, 39.
  • Who was Uriah’s wife? 2 Samuel 11:3.
  • Give the main facts of her story in 2 Samuel 11:1-27, noting how she broke God’s law. Exodus 20:14.
  • List the wounds you can think of that were inflicted as a result of giving in to the pleasure of sin for a few moments.
  • If you, or someone in your family, has been immoral, or in some other way broken God’s law and wounded others, what instructions and promises do the following verses give? Hosea 14:1-2; John 8:1-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 18-20; Psalm 32:1, 4-5; Psalm 103:12; 1 John 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Includes the Lowly

  • Give the main facts of Mary’s story from Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-7, 21-24, 39-40.
  • Give phrases from the following verses that imply Mary was young and poor:  Luke 1:34, 48, 52; John 1:46.
  • As an unmarried pregnant teenager, how do you think Mary could have been wounded by her own family and by her own community?
  • How did God uniquely reveal His love to Mary? Luke 1:46-55; 2:8-19; 2:51-52.
  • If you and your family are young, poor, or lowly in some way, how do the following verses encourage you? Micah 6:8; Isaiah 66:1-2; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 1 Peter 2:23-24; Philippians 2:5-11.

How was God’s power to redeem this dysfunctional, wounded family evident in Matthew 1:16? If God could transform His extended family into a testimony of His amazing grace so that ultimately Jesus Christ was revealed, why would you think He can’t do the same for you and your family? ©2023 Anne Graham Lotz

This article is adapted from a study originally published in July, 2013.

Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online. 

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