God's Purpose Series
Contributed by Shawn Drake on May 11, 2003 (message contributor)
Summary: This is the 5th study in the study "God Is On The Job". This study looks at God’s over all purpose being fulfilled.
Through my years of school, I have taken many history classes. One of the things that always interested me was in trying to figure out if any of those famous people were in my family line. I remember one day talking to my Mamma, my dad’s mother, about her parents and grandparents. I was writing a paper for school and I just knew my Mamma would have some stories of some very important people, and she did. She told me about two boys that lived on the farm next to her grandparents and there was a possibility (if you know what I mean) that we were kin. I recognized this name immediately. One of the boys name was Jesse James. Although this was a pretty “cool” story to tell my friends, did I really want people to know that I was kin to an outlaw?
In this study we are going to see how God gets the job done in ways that we would never even consider. At the beginning of time, God knew that we were going to need a Savior because of our sinfulness. God could have done this in many different ways, but the way He chose to do this was to send His only begotten Son to this earth. Now God could have immediately sent Jesus to this earth, but instead He waited many years. Through this genealogy and the genealogy found in Matthew 1:1-17 we will find the names of five women. Notice with me how God used the most unusual cast of women to be in the line of the Savior.
In Genesis 37:26-27, we find a man by the name of Judah who proposed that he and his brothers sell Joseph into slavery, rather than to kill him. Judah leaves home, marries a Canaanite woman, and has three sons, two of whom are old enough to marry, and are so wicked that God takes their lives. Abraham was very careful to obtain a non-Canaanite wife for his son, Isaac Genesis 24). Isaac and Rebekah were not as careful, but God provided two wives for Jacob from Rebekah’s brother Laban, in Paddan Aram (Genesis 29). Judah promptly leaves home and marries a Canaanite woman (Genesis 38:1-2). She has three sons. When the firstborn son was old enough, Judah acquired a Canaanite wife for him named Tamar. Judah’s first son, Er, was evil in God’s sight and the Lord took his life (Genesis 38:7). Judah instructed his second son, Onan, to take Tamar and raise up a descendant for his deceased brother, but he prevented Tamar from producing a child. Judah was afraid of losing his youngest son Shelah, so he asked Tamar to live at home until this boy was older.
After the passing of a considerable period of time, Judah’s wife died and Tamar realized that Judah would never give her to Shelah, his only surviving son. She seems to have known Judah all too well, because she disguised herself as a prostitute and stationed herself along the route she knew Judah would be taking to Timnah, along with his friend Hirah. Judah, who hired her as a prostitute, and left some of his possessions as a guarantee of payment, fulfilled Tamar’s expectations. Tamar had concealed her identity by the use of a veil, and so Judah never knew the identity of his companion that night. Some time later Judah was told that his daughter-in-law had become pregnant, and Judah was indignant. He insisted that she be put to death for her immorality. It was then that Tamar produced Judah’s cylinder seal (the ancient counterpart of a driver’s license or Social Security card today), his cord, and his staff – all items that were as good as fingerprints. Judah confessed that Tamar was more righteous than he. She was the one who sought to preserve his line. She bore twins to Judah, and Perez would be the one through whom the Messianic line would be continued, no thanks to Judah.
Pretty interesting person that Tamar. I have a hard time seeing how she is part of this Royal Family Line. Let’s look at another woman listed in this genealogy.
Rahab is mentioned eight times in Scripture and in six of these occurrences, her name is found with a specific descriptive noun. Do you know what it is? It is “harlot” (KJV) or “prostitute” (NIV). This story wonderfully illustrates God’s grace. He is no respecter of persons. He accepts and forgives us not because of what we are or might be, but because of His Son, because of what He would do and now has done and will do through those who trust Him and act in faith. It matters not what we were or have been. What matters is who Jesus Christ is, what He has done, and whether or not we will put our trust in Him.