Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Genesis 38 - a final word

If all that God wanted to do in giving us His Word was to relate a bunch of entertaining stories, He certainly accomplished that, as this chapter has shown us. We saw deception and intrigue, scandalous behavior, and a great climax with the revelation of Judah’s sin. However, this whole book is really about redemption. As much as we almost cheer when Judah is “outed,” we need to remember that this is not the end of the story. We saw yesterday that Judah immediately acknowledged his responsibility for what happened with Tamar when he saw the evidence:

“She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again. (vs. 26)

Beth Moore points out that this is the beginning of change for Judah, and that, by the end of this book, we will see a transformed Judah. Hallelujah! She writes the following:

The recognition of his own sin over another’s was the beginning of his transformation. Come to think of it, it always is.

If “character change is what Genesis is all about”, and if Abram became Abraham and Jacob became Israel, what are you and I becoming? Hebrews 4:12 tells us God’s Word is alive and powerful and so sharp that it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow. The most dramatic “cure” for certain cancers is a bone marrow transplant. God’s Word is meant to get all the way into our bones, curing our character sicknesses with the most dramatic of all marrow transplants. Christ is our donor. A perfect match for all infirmed. (The Patriarchs, P. 177)

Since my dear sister, Jodi, just underwent a complete bone marrow transplant, Beth’s words take on even more significance for me. Jodi has been given brand new marrow that is now cancer free! Her old, cancer-ridden marrow, that would have led to certain death, has been completely replaced with spanking clean, pure marrow! She has been saved from death to life! This is the work that Jesus has accomplished in our sin-ridden lives!

And what about Tamar? She had certainly been wronged by this family! She had been widowed, then used like a harlot by her brother-in-law, then set aside and forgotten by her father-in-law. Though we can’t excuse her actions in this chapter, we can certainly understand the pain that motivated her. Did God change her and redeem her? Well, her inclusion in the line of Christ, along with that of several other pagan women, shows us how God has been weaving His story of redemption through ALL mankind and to ALL mankind from the beginning. Her story has been set out for all to see for thousands of years now. She not only has her name in God’s Book, she surely must have her name in the Book of Life. She became, with the birth of Perez, the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother of King David! (I hope I counted those correctly in Matthew 1)

This is what Paul spoke about in Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Our sovereign God has been working continuously to redeem mankind, not only from sin, but from the law that had no power whatsoever to save us. He has grafted all who believe in Christ into this family:

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Gal 4:4-7)


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