The Silver Lining

By Reverend J. Loren Russell

SCRIPTURE: Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬-‭6‬, ‭16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
“Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.”
There are lots of words that describe the unlikely success of someone or something that does not meet a predetermined standard. In the horse racing world, they have a lot of ways to describe the horse least likely to win the race; long shot, underdog, hundred-in-one, and even “maid,” for a horse that has never won a race.

Some people are written off before they ever start. They are written off because of their place of birth, the schools they attended, the grades they earned, their criminal background, the color of their skin. Any or all of these may be real hinderances to success, but they are not the ultimate determining factor.

In the text, there are several names that are mentioned who, by all human accounts, should not be listed in the ancestry of Jesus. Salmon was the husband of Rahab, who was a harlot, or in today’s language, a prostitute. Boaz married Ruth who was a foreigner, a Moabite, who came to Canaan with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi was bitter because she lost her husband and sons to death. Ruth as a descendant of Lot, who impregnated both of his daughters.

Jesse was the father of David. David, king of Israel, was an adulterer, a liar, and a murderer. Solomon was David’s son and was as loose as a goose, with 500 wives, and 300 concubines, women who lived with him without the benefit of marriage.

Despite all that baggage, each of these individuals are direct ancestors of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Out of some of the worst characteristics in humanity comes the greatest gift given to humanity. It didn’t matter what the origin or the sinful nature of the individual, the Lord’s will supersede their sinful nature and bought forth the salvation of mankind.

When the prophet Jeremiah wrote to the Children of Israel, they were captives in a foreign land, bound in prisons, with a future that looked anything but happy. He was not writing this letter to us, but he was writing it for us! (Jeremiah 29:10-14) “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”

In a sense, some of us have been held captive by our past, and our thoughts. I have gone to great lengths to present several examples that confirm the theory that says, “in every cloud there is a silver lining.” Naomi, Rahab, Boaz, David and Solomon, any one of them could have quit because of their past, but they didn’t. They could have justified any step they could have taken away from their destiny, but they did not!

Your destiny does not rest with your past, no more than did the pasts of these patriarchs and matriarchs stop them from doing and being the great people who we remember today. Whatever dark cloud hangs over your head or in your past, I want you to know, there is silver in every cloud…, and that lining has a name, Jesus!

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell, associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448), author of Matters of Faith: The Book ($Mattersoffaith).

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