Prayer Focus: Africa

Bible Reading: Genesis 38-40

Scripture

About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”

Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”

As she 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 recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”

Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I…”  (Genesis 38:24-26a)

Observation

Everyone is righteous in their own eyes.  Tamar may have been “less bad” than Judah, but neither of them were behaving righteously.  And yet, this is the line of the Messiah; Tamar is a great grandmother of Jesus.

The people of God are replete with stories of the unethical, the violent, the unrighteous and the immoral.  These are the people God chose to use.   I can make a whole bunch of guesses as to why, but in the end it’s all to bring glory to God.  Which isn’t a very satisfying answer because when I try to “show off” my family I’m not going to talk about all the things my kids did wrong.  But here we are finding out the good, the bad, and the ugly of God’s chosen people.  And it gets ugly.

Application

And if these are the people God chose to use to bring the Messiah into the world…I think it’s fair to say that if you, or I, are trying to hide the blemishes in our family tree, we don’t have a Biblical leg to stand on.  Not that we should go around airing our dirty laundry, but hopefully we can stop hiding what needs to be brought out in the open so we can fix it.  If there’s one lesson to be learned from politics, it’s that what you cover up will be your downfall.  Even as I write this I get sick to my stomach thinking about following through on it.

The other side of this, of course, is that if you are entrusted with what someone else is going through you had better handle it with care.  Don’t condemn or look on with disdain, but out of a sincere desire to see God’s people healed, do the hard work of bringing about healing.  And, just in case, let’s do that without the “I told you so’s”, too.

But this is how good God is; He redeems people.  Even people like Judah and Tamar.  Ah, and there’s me thinking I’m more righteous than them.  In fact, God doesn’t just redeem them but He talks about them like He loves them.  The Lion of the tribe of Judah!  Because He does love them.  It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance and it’s His love and grace that save us.

Prayer

Lord, we don’t need to tell you how bad we are because you already know.  We don’t need to tell you how much we need a savior because you already sent Jesus.  Yet, like Judah, we often do vile things and don’t even see the problem.  I think, rather selfishly, I would like to ask that You open my eyes to my own sin before I say something stupid and am publicly humiliated.  And then, since you’ve already died to take the penalty for my sin, since you already rose to give new life to those who ask, could we just get to the business of healing and saving others?

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