The Old Testament character Joseph has always been one of my favorites. Joseph was the son of Jacob, the grandson of Isaac, and the great-grandson of Abraham. Through a series of difficulties and ordained situations, God miraculously catapulted Joseph from prison to second in command of Egypt. Throughout it all, Joseph was able to keep his eyes on Christ. His story is one of the best examples of faithfulness and reliance on God.

As a young person, I always assumed that Jesus came from Joseph’s line. After all, Joseph served God faithfully despite unimaginable difficulty. And let’s not forget that Joseph had an incredibly impressive and powerful position in Pharaoh’s court. It seemed a given to me that God’s Son would be born through Joseph’s family line.

But, as is often God’s mode of operation, He didn’t choose to send His Son through Joseph’s line; instead, God chose one of Joseph’s brothers to be the ancestor of Jesus. God chose Judah. Judah, who helped sell Joseph into slavery, was mothered by Leah, who was unloved and overlooked. Judah’s oldest two sons died by God’s hand because of their wickedness. And Judah himself wronged his daughter-in-law, Tamar, who then retaliated by clothing herself as a prostitute, sleeping with Judah, and then conceiving twins through that encounter. It is one of those twins, Perez, who is the ancestor of Jesus.

I’m simply amazed by God’s choices. His ways do not appear logical or “fair.” Indeed, we know that Jesus’ ancestral lineage included many others who would be considered outcasts by this world’s system. The Bible is filled with accounts of unlikely men and women used by God. “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27, NLT).

I’m grateful that we can’t figure out all of God’s ways. He shows mercy to whom He wants to show mercy (Romans 9:18). He chooses people the world would discount. And He consistently uses unlikely people to show His glory, power, and strength. What a great reminder that, despite our inability to understand, He knows what He is doing. We can trust Him with our lives. And He can use us, no matter how inadequate or ill-equipped we feel. Our job is simply to follow His lead in faith!

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