Where is God in the following? Sibling rivalry. Attempted Murder. Rape. Incest. Murder. Stealing. Dysfunctional family. Fighting. Making Enemies. Lying. Deception. Homeless. Famine. The list could go on, but you get the idea. So where is God?
The amazing story of the descendants of Abraham in Genesis 23-50 is that each of these events happen in the lives of these people, and miracle of miracles, God is with them. The list, I just mentioned sounds like a series of shows for Jerry Springer, or the latest Fox reality show. Instead, they are stories of what happen in Genesis, and what amazes me is God’s presence in the experiences of the lives of people and the power of His grace at work.
Reading through the Bible this year has brought to the adventures of the descendants of Abraham and Isaac, the story of Jacob and his children. Jacob the deceiver raises a patch of deceivers whether its vengeance on those who have violated their sister Dinah or their plan to get rid of Joseph, the sons of Jacob are known more for their deception and dysfunction then their faith and their values.
Yes, Joseph is an exception, though he battles with pride. His lessons will be valuable to learn in the book of Genesis.
Then their’s Judah, and his gross me out story in Genesis 38. Let’s see if I can keep it clean, his sons die while trying to have children through Tamar. Not wanting to lose his last son, he tells Tamar to wait until the boy is of age. But when the boy is past age, Judah has no intent to ever send him to Tamar.
So Tamar comes up with a plan, she will seduce Judah. And she does, playing a shrine prostitute. To guarantee future payment, she takes his seal, his cord, and his staff. Then when Judah seeks to pay, no prostitute to be found.
Later (I’m guessing more then 6 months later), Tamar is found to be pregnant, Judah is ready to have her killed. How dare she defile the family name?
Tamar sends a message back, I am pregnant by the owner of this seal, this cord, and this staff. You guessed it. Judah.
Then comes these incredible words amid a family of dysfunction in Genesis 38:26, Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.”
She is more righteous than I. Instead of deception, their is integrity. Admission of guilt. Acceptance of fault. Affirmation that Judah is the cause of the problem.
The line of Jesus flows through Judah through Tamar through an illicit act that revealed an act of integrity amid dysfunction. Gives me hope amid the dysfunction of our day that God will continue to raise up people of integrity.
What acts of integrity are inspiring you today?