In my last post, I wrote about Jesus family tree in Matthew 1. There are five women listed in Jesus genealogy and their stories hold an amazing message for all of us. Tamar is the first of the five women. Her story is both horrific and hopeful. Follow along as you hear the rest of her story. You will see the beginning of Jesus message to us as Tamar reacts to Judah’s deceit.
Judah has an Ulterior Motive
You see, Judah has an ulterior motive when he sends Tamar back to her family to live as a widow. After his two sons who had been married to her are killed by God for their evilness, Judah has no intention of marrying Tamar to his youngest son. Genesis 38:11 says ‘Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”; for he thought, “I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers.”
Judah Does Not Take Any Responsibility
Note that Judah does not take any responsibility himself for his sons’ demise. He passes the buck just like he did with his brothers before he took off to a foreign pagan place. He dismisses Tamar as if she were nothing to him. As her father-in-law, it is his responsibility to care for her. “So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.” Does Tamar ever see justice done? Will she remain a state of helpless hopelessness in her black widow’s weeds? What state are you in right now dear one? Are you feeling hopeless in this new year?
‘Now after a considerable time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah died, and when the time of mourning was ended, Judah went up to his sheep shearers at Timnah he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 It was told to Tamar, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she removed her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face. 16 So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me come in to you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.’
Tamar Does This for Two Reasons
Why does Tamar do this? I believe she does this for two reasons: Judah has not kept his word to her. Secondly, Tamar is showing Judah at great risk and degradation to herself, tremendous mercy and consideration. Let me explain. In my last blog I referred to Deuteronomy 25 where it tells us that when a man dies, his brother is to marry that brother’s widow. Their first born son is to inherit then, the dead brother’s portion.
But there’s more……”But if the man does not desire to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ 9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 In Israel his name shall be called, ‘The house of him whose sandal is removed.’
Tamar Could Have Taken Judah to Court
In other words, Tamar could have taken Judah to court. She could have brought him public shame. Instead, she shamed herself in order to save Judah’s future. He still has no descendants. Tamar takes a huge risk. She knows that her own life and future could be in jeopardy because she is pretending to be a temple prostitute in order to catch Judah’s attention. What will become of her?
In this New Year of 2017 like Tamar, you may take risks dear one; you may make decisions without possible knowing the outcome. There is, however, one assurance that you can have. Tamar and Judah are part of Jesus genealogy. Their story is not pretty yet God chose them. One of the lessons we can learn from them is that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what your history is. God loves you unconditionally. He wants to assure you of that love and give you eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin, was God in the flesh, died for your sins and mine and rose again on the third day. Jesus conquered the horror of death and gave us the hope of eternal life. Is He calling to you dear one?
What is the final outcome for Judah and Tamar? Stay tuned.