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Series: Reclaimed - Uncovering Your Worth
Week 2: Peripeteia: Tamar - Day 4
If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him-work it out between the two of you (Matthew 18:15 MSG).
Today, we will finish Genesis 38. We will spend time tomorrow reflecting on how this story fits into the greater picture painted within the Bible. For now, read Genesis 38:15-30.
We learned yesterday that although Tamar’s emotions were understandable, her choice to take matters into her own hands was not a good one. And her plan was intentional, not a haphazard plot. It was calculated, thought out, and shrewdly executed. The art of manipulation is one most women excel in, including me. We know exactly what buttons to push, when, and how to push them to get exactly what we want. We prey on the vulnerabilities of others, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Is there anyone that hasn’t turned on the tears to get out of a ticket or strategically chosen an outfit, or lack thereof, to get their way? There is no denying it; if we are honest, we know just what we are doing. So did Tamar. What three things did she ask for as a pledge for the goat Judah promised her?
These three items probably don’t mean much to us nowadays. When was the last time you saw someone walking down the street with a staff? But in Tamar’s time, these items were like asking for someone’s license and fingerprints. The seal was constructed of metal and stone and was worn around the owner’s neck. Like a stamp in today’s time, it could be pressed into clay, leaving an impression, which ultimately identified its owner. The staff had markings that pinpointed the owner as well. Tamar knew she would need proof, and asking for Judah’s personal items were essential to her plan.
We read that Judah sent his friend Hirah to bring the goat to the ‘‘temple prostitute’’ only to learn that she was nowhere to be found. He then exclaims, ‘‘Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at’’ (Genesis 38:23 ESV). A man who sends his friend to do his dirty work and has no reservations about letting his one-of-a-kind personal items go in an attempt to save face is a man well acquainted with his own guilt. And guilt motivates us to do some interesting things.
When Judah learns, three months later, that Tamar is pregnant, what is his response?
He doesn’t really mince words here, does he? It’s at this point that I want to take Judah by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. I would like to get in real close to his face and scream at the top of my lungs, ‘‘What did you expect her to do?’’ At the heart of his response is a man filled with remorse and shame. He’s tried to outrun his conscience, but it’s caught up with him. Now, ther ...
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