While studying Joshua 2 for my small group Bible study, I had an epiphany about Rahab. You remember her, the woman almost always referred to in Scripture as "Rahab the harlot". The woman of Jericho who hid the two Israelite spies and asked for deliverance for herself and her family. The woman who joined the tribes of Israel and eventually was married to a man named Salmon. Who then had a son named Boaz.
Can you imagine the taunting that Boaz took as a child? He was the half-breed son of a Canaanite woman. Even worse, that Canaanite woman was a former prostitute. In today's world, a kid might be taunted with the phrase "Your mamma wears combat boots!" or the timeless "Your momma's so fat.....". But Boaz's tormentors could truthfully say "Your momma's a pagan!" or even worse, "Your momma's a whore!".
But pan forward a few years, and skip over the Book of Judges.... Rahab's family comes back into view in Scripture. A Moabite woman named Ruth returns to Israel with the mother of her dead husband. She winds up gleaning from the fields of Boaz, he notices her, inquires about her and he winds up being her kinsmen-redeemer and marrying her. And for those of you who remember Old Testament lineage, they have a son named Obed, who has a son named Jesse, who has a son named David. Yep, THAT David.
I have to think that when Boaz found out that Ruth was a former pagan who had married into Israel, he immediately thought of his mother. That he remembered the difficulty, the discrimination and the taunting that his family endured. And that he knew that HE was possibly the only man in the land that could understand, sympathize and empathize with what she was feeling.
Your darkest family secrets: the felony conviction, the suicide, the abortion, the pre-marital pregnancy or whatever embarrassing history you have, God can use it. Your darkest hour was ministry-prep, if you will give it over to Him and act when you are brought into contact with someone passing thru the valley that you already left.
If you skip forward to the first chapter of Matthew, you see Rahab & Salmon and Boaz & Ruth mentioned again. In the lineage of our LORD. What if Boaz had held on to his pain and shame instead of being used? Our LORD would certainly have been born anyway, but what a shame to get to eternity and see the opportunities that you MISSED.
For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10