Saturday, December 11, 2010
Tamar has my number...
I hate to admit that I totally get this girl but I do. Taking matters into my own hands and being impatient comes naturally to me. Surprised, right? ;)
I was not in the mood for a lesson from the righteous today. And God reminded me of Tamar. (There are a few Tamar's in God's Word, but this chick has my heart.) The best thing about this story is the evidence of God's grace. Judah was a jerk, Tamar was a lonely woman who decided to do something about it- and yet they both get to become part of the lineage for Jesus- our wonderful Savior and the Son of God! Back up with me and read Genesis 38. (I always forget to mention, if you don't have your own Bible-message me. I have a pile and would love to send you one! And for now, you can look up the passage at www.biblegateway.com)
Tamar married the wrong dude, then due to their really whacked out heritage rules, she gets pawned off to the brother, then she gets promised if she waits- she will get to marry the youngest brother when he comes of age. Yeah- I know. Gross beyond gross, but that's how they swing it back then. (Her husbands kept dying off because they were "evil in the sight of the LORD". I wonder if she was glad- she was the one who had to live with their EVIL!)
Anyways, things just got worse for her after that. She waited alone for awhile, and Judah, her father in law, never kept his promise to give her the next little bro for a husband- even though he was old enough now. I know it sounds weird, but imagine the situation as a woman in a culture where your only worth came from marriage and the production of sons. Tamar had no hope of that now, and no hope of being a part of the lineage of her people- Abraham's descendants.
What she does next is just gnarly- I can't even TRY to describe it. Read Genesis 38:13-19...I'll wait.
Yeah- wow. Can you even imagine the desperation that it would take to bring a "good girl" raised in the strict fashion of the Hebrews to do this? WOW. That's like trash t.v. unstaged!
The best part is yet to come, as always! Good ol' Judah has still got some live ones- Tamar gets pregnant with that one shot. Yep. Now there is going to be trouble! When Judah finds out his daughter in law is pregnant, he gets all self-righteous and says "Off with her head!" (Well, not really...but I have been watching too many old movies lately.) Clever Tamar then sends him back his seal and staff to prove who Daddy is...big OOPS for Judah.
NOW is the best part- for once in his life, Judah does the right thing. Judah owns up to his sin, and declares Tamar more righteous than he. He recognizes that she just forced him into doing the right thing- providing her first husband (and his first born son) an heir to carry on the family name.
Reading commentaries about this- was Tamar right, should she have gotten what she wanted, what about Judah?Blah, blah, blah. The insight from this passage can go on and on but the beauty and point I think- is the GRACE of GOD.
In spite of it all, God provided for Judah, Tamar, and for US. You see, one of the twin boys this couple produced becomes a direct ancestor to Jesus. Romans 5:20 says it so beautifully, and I needed this comfort today:
"The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more..."
What a lesson! Sin never wins, hurts won't always rule our minds and and in the end, God's Grace will always be more than enough. Oh, hallelujah! Who knows? Maybe this life lesson in chapter 38 was one of the changing factors for Judah. Where he once sold his own brother into slavery (Genesis 37), he than became the man who stood before Egypt's ruler and begged to be thrown into prison instead of his other little brother (Genesis 44:33) But that is a story for another day....:)
Oh, Lord, how gracious you are. Thank you for being our God and loving us like no other. If only we were all as good to one another. Help us remember Tamar and Judah, help us live cleaner and love better.
(Pretty horse, huh? Her name is Bella...)