Friday, August 29, 2014

Tamar: Desperate Measures

Have you ever run ahead of God and tried to fix things yourself?

I must confess, this is my usual modus operandi. I am always trying to fix things myself. It only occurs to me later that I should have waited, that I should have prayed first. It is only later that I realize that God may not have been in this. Usually I am sure I did the wrong thing when in the end things end up all wrong.

What Tamar did to fix things herself was absolutely scandalous!

Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone to Timnah to shear his sheep.” She took off her widow’s clothes, put on a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. She realized by now that even though Shelah was grown up, she wasn’t going to be married to him.

Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face. He left the road and went over to her. He said, “Let me sleep with you.” He had no idea that she was his daughter-in-law. 

My first thought was -- this was disgusting and humiliating! But Judah had left her with no good choices. She could take her case to the city gates and shame Judah into giving Tamar his last remaining son in marriage. Or she could have remained childless and unmarried in her fathers house. Her only chance of honor was to raise sons. Her duty was to produce an heir for Judah's family. Her only chance of survival was tied to her ability to bear children. So Tamar took matters into her own hands. She was not a harlot, but a woman determined to fulfill her destiny. The way she picked may not have been right in several respects. But is that the ultimate measurement of good?

In the end, God created a fruitful result from her choice.  Did she pray first and receive God's direction and blessing? We will never know. But God used this for good. In the end, Tamar produced twin sons. God used this to strengthen Judah's character. Ultimately, God uses Tamar and Judah to produce the lineage of Christ. Ultimately we find God using this situation for His glory.

Tamar faced an impossible situation, where there was no way out. But God took her out. It was amazing  Judah did not recognize her. Amazing that she conceived in a single act. Amazing that Judah did not have her burned anyway when she confronted him with his seal, cord and staff. Amazing that he took her into his home instead and raised the sons as his own. Amazing? Or was it God's miracle? A miracle from the hand of a merciful God who delights in restoring the broken. God transforms our biggest sins into glory.

No matter who has victimized us, no matter how far we have fallen, God alone can restore.

Father, help me remember, help me trust You. We don't know if Tamar prayed and asked You.  But I can pray and ask You before I move forward with my plans. Remind me, Beloved and I will give You all the glory. 

Read all of Tamar's story in Genesis 38, and also see Matthew 1:1-16

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