Summary: When we say “we are simply saved by grace”, aren’t we saying that we really owe everything to God?
Last week we talked about Genesis 37 which talks about the beginning of the story of God’s hero, Joseph. As we will note, there is no mention of Joseph in Genesis 38 and Joseph’s story continues in Genesis 39. God takes a break in telling the story of Joseph with a story about Judah and Tamar. What in the world is God trying to say in Genesis 38? Here’s a hint, we don’t hear much more about Tamar and her sons until the New Testament.
Pray with me our commitment to God’s Word………….
I’ve asked Irene Stewart to read for us this morning…..
What is God trying to teach the Israelites and us with Genesis 38? The story is summarized in your bulletin.
Judah left his family and married someone with a different faith, a Canaanite. Judah had 3 sons (Er, Onan, Shelah).
Er married Tamar. Er dies because of his wickedness.
Right thing to do is for brother Onan to marry Er’s widow. Onan married Tamar but disobeyed and so God put him to death also. Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died and Judah decided to sleep with a stranger.
The stranger was actually Tamar with her trickery!
Tamar was mad at Judah for not giving her Shelah as a husband. Tamar got pregnant. Judah did not know it was his baby and so he was ready to put Tamar to death!
Tamar confronted Judah and realized his sin.
Tamar had twins and the delivery was interesting.
What is God trying to tell the Israelites and us in this story? God made Himself known in this chapter didn’t He?
First of all, what did God do to Er and Onan?
God took the lives of Er and Onan’s because they were disobedient to God! What does this tell us about God??
1. God knows everything!
2. God detests wickedness!
3. God has power to take a life!
Secondly, was there any person in Genesis 38 who did not have free will to do what they wanted?
4. God gives free will to everyone, even a baby who was trying to get out first and a midwife who thought she was in control, but God is always in control.
And was there anyone in the story who consulted with God? But even if no one in the story involved God in their life, we know that God was watching and was involved.
You see, 5. God does not forget people even if people forget about God! Let us note that this truth can be wonderfully good or it can be seriously bad!
There is one more thing we can note about God from this story and the rest of Scriptures. But first we have to make a note about people. Was there really anyone in this story who did everything right?
We noted of course Er and Onan who were wicked and God judged them on the spot! God the Creator has a right to judge.
Let me just highlight the sins of Judah and Tamar.
What did Judah do wrong?
The first thing that Judah did wrong was leave the people of faith. Judah’s clan was the one chosen by God and was blessed by God.
Judah left his people and married someone who was not a believer of God. Why would Judah leave the people of promise and marry a Canaanite?
Judah was not satisfied with God.
And Judah kept his last son from Tamar. Then of course we read that Judah slept with a woman who wasn’t his wife. And not knowing that he was the one who got his daughter-in-law pregnant, Judah was ready to put Tamar to death! Judah was self-righteous.
Tamar of course schemed and lied just to get a husband. Everyone sinned!
We already noted that God can immediately judge a sinner. God could have, but God did not do that to Judah and Tamar! They did not immediately die. God gave grace to Judah and Tamar!
But Judah and Tamar did have to live with their shame.
And we can note that with that shame, came repentance. Judah did not put Tamar to death and he took care of her. And Tamar after doing her deed with Judah put on her widow’s clothes again. And here’s what we can know about Judah and Tamar, based on other Scriptures:
Genesis 49:8-10 reads, "Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness — who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”