March 12 I Saturday
“As [Tamar] was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. ‘I am pregnant by the man who owns these,’ she said. And she added, ‘See if you recognise whose seal and cord and staff these are.’ Judah recognised them...” —Genesis 38:25-26
After being widowed twice, Tamar was sent back to her father’s household with a false promise from her father-in-law, Judah, that he would let his third son, Shelah, marry her when he was older. Tamar became a vulnerable widow who had been pushed aside, cast away through no fault of her own and faced an impossible future. When she saw that Shelah had grown up but was not given to her as a husband, she devised a plan to dress up as a prostitute and sleep with her father-in-law. As a pledge for her service, she was handed Judah’s seal, cord and staff until she received the payment of a young goat. Three months later, when Judah heard of Tamar’s pregnancy, he wanted to burn Tamar to death. Judah, who was the father of the children inside of his daughter-in-law, was ready to condemn her.
When the people went to get Tamar, she quickly sent a message to her father-in-law. She told him, “I am pregnant by the man who owns these.” Then she added, “See if you recognise whose seal and cord and staff these are” (Genesis 38:25). What must Judah have felt when he saw the seal, the cord and the staff? Sometimes our lowest, most compromised and worst moment is the very place where God gets our attention. Tamar was the first person that we read in Scripture to confront Judah’s sinful character. She was like a mirror that he was looking into as the Lord used that moment to convict the heart of Judah in order to show him how far off course he had gone in his life.
Judah sold his brother Joseph into slavery, lied to his father and carried the deception for so long. He also left his father’s home and married a Canaanite woman, knowing this would break his father’s heart. Plus, he did not correct or raise his sons well and did not even mourn for them when they died. He then dishonoured a widow, slept with a prostitute and was willing to judge his daughter-in-law for adultery while overlooking all his transgressions against God.
Judah had a choice at that moment. He could have buried the truth of what happened by burning Tamar and deceiving everyone with a lie or he could come into the light and be honest. Regarding the items, Judah responded, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah” (Genesis 38:26). For the first time in Scripture, Judah spoke the truth in the presence of others, exposing his own shortcomings. What truth from our life do we need to bring into the light and be honest about where we are with God?
Prayer: Gracious Father, thank You for graciously convicting me when I sin. Help me to humble myself under Your correction and walk into the light. Amen!