Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Lineage of Grace - TAMAR

We read A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers as part of our women's Bible Study. The book provides a story book format of all the women who are mentioned in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1:1-16, which are highlighted below.
The author does not add to what is written but uses her knowledge of history during bible times to personalize each woman. After reading each story, you are able to put yourself in that woman's shoes.

This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Tamar - was the daughter in law of Judah.  She was first married to Er, but he was a wicked man and God killed him.  Then she was married to Onan, Er's brother.  Onan did not want to have his brother's child, so during intercourse he spilled his semen on the floor.  God did not like that, so he too was killed.  There was a third brother - Shelah, but instead of Tamar being given to him in marriage, Judah told her to go home to her father's house.   Judah never gives Shelah to Tamar in marriage.  Tamar recognizes this and realizes that if she does not bear a child, she is nothing.  One day, a much older Judah is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep and Tamar is aware of this.  Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute, and sleeps with Judah.  Before she sleeps with him she struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord.

In the process of time, Judah finds out that his daughter in law is pregnant and commands that she be burned to death for committing adultery. Tamar, never losing her wits has the staff, seal and cord delivered to Judah with the message that the owner of these items is the father of the child. Judah recognizes the items and she is not killed. Instead she is brought back in to his house and she delivers twins - Perez and Zerah. Tamar spends the rest of her days in Judah's house but they do not live as husband and wife. The story in it's entirety is found in Genesis 38.

Heady stuff, isn't it. Yet God showed grace - undeserved favor to Tamar. At Christmas you always hear that Jesus was descended from the tribe of Judah. This is the Judah that is being referred to. He didn't start off as an honorable man, but he had a change of heart and God used him and Tamar.

Can you relate to Tamar? How do you handle broken promises? Is it ever ok to deceive someone? Can deception be part of God's plan?

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