Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Genesis 38: Judah and Tamar. This is one of those chapters we hope our unbelieving friends never bring up. It is not on the highly recommended list for “one-to-one” discipleship. Nor does it work too well for our 15 minute inductive bible study in which we ask, “What does this text say?… What does it mean?… How does it apply to my life?” As far as answering the question, “What does this text tell me about God?” one might understandably answer, “I’m not sure I want to know!”
A few questions may help. Have you ever felt let down by the church, the people of God? Have you ever been promised something significant by someone important who didn’t deliver? Do you sometimes feel as if you’ve entrusted your life to God only to come up empty? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then Tamar is someone you can relate to, at least once you get past some of our cultural barriers to reading the story.
A few more questions. Do you ever think you’ve been so wicked, so godless, that God’s promises don’t apply to you? Or so consumed by greed that you’ve done terribly hurtful things to others? Do you wonder if you’ve been so disobedient that God can no longer use your life for His glory and purposes? If you answer yes to any of these, then pay attention to Judah, for you can relate to him.
As bizarre as Genesis 38 may first appear, it is not as bizarre as you might suspect. And it is really quite significant in the story of redemption. As John Walton writes, “It is precisely when the narrative [story] seems odd that we must pay closer attention.”
Join us as we explore the story of Judah’s transformation through Tamar’s veiled faithfulness.