August 22, 2011 by Chris French
A Lineage of Grace is five stories, but one thought. It details the lives of five of Jesus’ female ancestors: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. Obviously Rivers has taken some poetic license with these stories. We don’t know much about any of these women, but the assumptions she makes about these woman are well-studied and most likely the truth. For example, we’re not told that Rahab marries one of the spies she hid on her roof, but it kind of makes sense that they would have a special connection. Rahab’s husband’s name was Salmon, by the way (Matthew 1.4). I’d also never thought about Boaz having a special place in his heart for non-Jews that had accepted God as their God until I read about Ruth in this story. His mother was Rahab! Of course he had a special place in his heart for proselytes. All the stories are well written and stayed true to the Bible, but my favorite was Boaz. He gives us a great picture of what it means to be holy to God.
I really liked all these stories. Don’t misunderstand me. These are not scholarly works, but from what I know about Scripture and the history surrounding these events these stories represent what very well could have happened and probably what did happen. You can buy the stories individually at Books-A-Million and that’s what I’m going to do (a friend at Bethel let me borrow her copy). When we come across grace or one of these stories in one of the classes at Bethel I’m going to pick out a couple of the kids who like to read and let them read these books. It’ll give them a little more insight into the story and hopefully, if they’re paying attention, help them see God’s grace. You never really realize how messed up a lot of the people in Jesus’ line were until you read a book like this. Were these women seekers? Absolutely! We can learn a lot about the kind of heart God desires from us by reading their stories. Were they extended grace in a huge way? Absolutely! Tamar, Rahab and Ruth were outsiders. They were not Jewish. They didn’t grow up hearing the stories about God, yet when the time came for them to make a decision they all stood with God and sought justice and mercy. Bathsheba and Mary were both Jews, but very human Jews, and Rivers brings out how God extended His grace to them. Great book and really worth your time!