SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Judah is one of the sons Leah bore for Jacob, which we read about back in Genesis chapter 29:35.
- Next, you may be thrown off with God “putting people to death.” But life is a gift God gives to people, and God has the right to take it away. Just like parents who give their child a BB gun and tell him if he misuses it they will take it away from him, God warns that He can take life away from people who misuse it. Why God chooses to do this at times and not at others is often a mystery. And we definitely see God taking this kind of action more in the Old Testament times. We’re not sure what “evil” Er did in God’s eyes. God killed Onan because he was refusing to take his brother’s widow, Tamar, and provide a better life for her. This may sound harsh of God but God was looking after Tamar. We have to understand that in that time and in their culture a woman had a very difficult time taking care of herself when her husband died. God made it clear that he wanted families to take care of widows and not to cast them aside as if they didn’t matter. It may be difficult to understand but God was looking after Tamar who was innocent.
- Next, Judah clearly had a night when he chose to disobey God. During this night he unknowingly slept with his daughter-in-law. We’re not fully sure why Tamar was out that night. We don’t know if she was trying to marry Judah’s youngest son or what. But that night Tamar became pregnant by Judah. Again, a really messed up situation.
- When Tamar started showing she was pregnant she was accused of being a prostitute. The people told Judah about it and he commanded that she be put to death. Then he found out the whole truth, that it was his child (remember when he slept with Tamar he thought she was a prostitute). When Judah heard all this he declared that Tamar was the one who was better than he was. Judah was convicted of his sin. After this Judah obviously took care of Tamar but never slept with her again.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- This chapter feels more like an episode of Jerry Springer, but the Bible is full of real people and real life, and so things get messy.
- We learn in this chapter that when we go outside of God's will and choose to disobey Him, our lives will get messy and we are likely to hurt other people as well.
- We also learn that what’s done in secret will be found out. Often we do things thinking no one will ever find out. The truth is that our “secret” sins always impact our lives and those around us and will come out.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Where have you been choosing to disobey God and live outside His will? Is there any sin you’ve been hiding? Ask God to forgive you of it today. And find someone you can trust that you can talk to about it to keep you accountable with whatever you’re struggling with. That’s why we have Micro Groups at Verve. Check with the Velcro Bar about how you can get plugged into a group.