The IT'S THURSDAY series is a long-running and key element in the FSAOF blog- a weekly Bible lesson. It's Thursday prominence will never be compromised - The Strawberry Field series will return on MONDAY, JUNE 22
Thursday 18 June 2015
'Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, 'Live as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up,' (Genesis 38:11). Living with a wicked man like Er, life could not have been easy for Tamar. As a result of his wickedness he died, leaving her childless, a cause of great shame for a woman back then. In those days, (hundreds of years before it was incorporated into law as recorded in see Deuteronomy 25:5), it was the custom that, should a married man die without leaving an heir, his next youngest brother was expected to marry his brother's widow and to have their first son recognised as the legitimate son of the deceased brother, (see also Mark 12:18-23).
There was a stigma attached to refusing this obligation, so Er's next youngest brother Onan agreed to his father Judah's request for him to do his duty as Tamar's brother-in-law. This he did despite him having no intention to fulfil his obligation. He was not happy that a child conceived through him would not be his, and was dishonest in his dealings with his father and deceitful in his treatment of Tamar as a consequence, (see v 8,9). As with his older brother, Onan's wickedness resulted in his death.
This left one remaining son, Shelah on whom the obligation now fell to produce an heir for his eldest brother. Now he was too young to marry so Judah told his daughter-in-law to 'live as a widow,' in her father's house until his son was old enough. This she did. Years passed and even when Shelah was old enough to marry Tamar, she was still not given his hand. Whether deliberate or through negligence Judah didn't do right by her and she obviously felt deeply wounded by it. When we feel that time and again life has treated us unjustly we, like Tamar, can so easily be tempted to do whatever it takes to get what we feel we justly deserve. But the ends never justifies the means. Whilst we might not be tempted to prostitute ourselves like Tamar was, is giving way to a temptation and committing a sin that appears less serious in our own eyes any better? Sin is sin.
God bless you all.
God bless you all.