Summary: Genesis 38:11-19
WOMEN OF WONDER - Tamar: Posing as a Prostitute
May 5, 2019
Genesis 38:11-19 (p. 28)
My mother in law, Nancy, is a pretty amazing woman…She is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met and passed those creative genes down to her daughter, my wife, Kari. A few years ago Nancy got really involved in genealogy…She started tracing the roots of all our families…I knew I had French and German ancestry…with the names “Bach” and “Burdette” that wasn’t too tough to figure out…but Nancy’s genealogy went way deeper…especially when it came to my great, great grandparents on both sides of my family…she recorded their nicknames and the fact that my mom’s family and my dad’s family migrated from Scotland and ended up living about 30 miles apart in Eastern KY and West Virginia…It was pretty cool to watch the providence of God that brought my family into existence…my great grandfather Hiram lost his 1st wife at 54…married a 25 year old and had 5 more children…Arthur, my grandfather being one of them…Hiram’s one of my heroes (LOL).
And folks, there are some things in my heritage that are pretty scandalous…I’m probably not going to shout them out loud in public…but the truth is…people are sinful…my people…your people…ALL PEOPLE.
So whether you have a horse thief or a murderer in your family tree that’s not abnormal…it’s just the truth of the human condition.
It’s amazing that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, has the same truth in His genealogy…There are murderers, thieves, adulterous and scandalous events scattered in His lineage…
May is the month of Mother’s Day and so I wanted to share a series called…Women of Wonder…In June we’ll look at some Super Men, since it’s the month of Father’s Day.
The lineage of Jesus recorded by Matthew does something bold and unusual for when it was written…it includes the names of 4 women…Women of Wonder :) Tamar, Rahab, Ruth…and Uriah’s wife (it’s Bathsheba…but her name isn’t written).
Matthew 1:3 mentions Tamar first…Judah the Father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar.
The story of Judah and Tamar reminds us that God’s grace and His plan are far greater than our sin. We make messes…and God turns it into a message of grace.
I’m going to promise you you’ve never heard many sermons from Genesis 38…It’s not boring…It’s not deep theology…It’s not irrelevant.
But, it’s cringe worthy in how racy it is. And it occurs right in the middle of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers…Genesis 38 is one of those biblical chapters where you go…huh? This is a weird place for this story!
Judah is one of Joseph’s brothers…He’s the one who comes up with the idea to sell him instead of kill him…
GENESIS 37:26-28 (p. 27)
Joseph is eventually sold by the Midianites to Potiphar, the Captain of Pharaoh’s guard. It’s in this time frame Judah heads into godless country to see a friend.
I. THE STORY OF JUDAH AND TAMAR BEGINS
GENESIS 38:1-10 (p. 28)
Judah is a compromiser…let’s not kill Joseph…let’s sell him…(Both are wrong). Judah has a friendship with a guy name Hirah…the Adullamite. Hirah’s a Canaanite…He worships idols…many of them are sexual in nature.
So Judah, on the heels of one sin…heads to see his buddy who doesn’t worship God and gets involved with another sin…He marries a Canaanite woman, the daughter of Shuah…Part of these traditions involve prostitutes at their shrines.
Judah and Shuah have a son whom they name Er…They have another son they name Onan and a 3rd son named Shelah…
When Er is old enough to marry Judah gets him a wife…not from God’s people but from the Canaanites…Her name is Tamar. This is the woman who will become Jesus’ great great (another 38 greats) Grandmother.
Verse 7 in Genesis 38 says Er is wicked and the Lord takes his life…Tamar is now a widow…Judah requires Onan to marry her and produce an heir…It’s a custom called the “Leverite marriage.”
But in vividly clean language, Onan rejects this responsibility and takes advantage of this situation for his own sexual gratification God punishes Onan for this selfish act and Onan’s life is also cut short by the Lord.
Tamar has been widowed twice. Judah now has 2 dead sons…and his third son is too young to marry…so he sends Tamar to her father’s house to live as a widow until his 3rd son Shelah grows up…
But Judah also realizes marrying Tamar is hazardous…he reasons…my third son might die too.
So, Tamar goes to live in her father’s house.
Are you with me so far…you think your family is dysfunctional…you think God doesn’t have a plan for you…well hold on to your hat…because
II. THIS IS A STORY ABOUT GRACE IN SPITE OF OUR SIN