Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12: Genesis 38

Today's reading in our daily plan is Genesis 38. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • First, you might be wondering who Judah is? He’s 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.” This is difficult for us to understand. Before Jesus came to earth, God was much less patient with people sinning who claimed to follow him. We’re not sure why Er died. We don’t know what “evil” he did in God’s eyes. But 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 at 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’s 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, it’s 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 is a crazy chapter. By the way, reading the Bible is good for us even if it’s just to make us feel better about how “normal” our own families are. But I digress. . . A lot of insane things happen in this chapter but the main thing we can pull out to apply to our own lives is that what’s done in secret will be found out. Often we have things that we do thinking no one will ever find out. The truth is that our “secret” sins always impact our lives and those around us. And sometimes our sins can have devastating consequences like we read about in this chapter. 

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Is there anything 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.