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Gen. 38:1-30 - Judah - Part 2
We now continue with this bizarre story of Judah...
Vs. 13-30 - “When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.
When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.”
“And what will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked.
“I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said.
“Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” she asked.
He said, “What pledge should I give you?”
“Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered.
So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.
Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her.
He asked the men who lived there, “Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here,” they said.
So he went back to Judah and said, “I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, ‘There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here.’”
Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”
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, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.
When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.”
But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez. Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.”
God’s about to send these 12 boys down into the womb of Egypt to be multiplied and so He’s really got to work with their hearts. This is kind of a turning point for Judah here.
Here’s an extra tidbit. It is interesting how Zerah, the first kid that came out, that the midwife ties the scarlet thread on his hand, he gets his hand back in there, he doesn’t make it out. Then Perez comes forth and they call him “breach.” And there’s a real picture here of how salvation was first offered to the Jews, but they were bound by the Scarlet Thread of the Law, they couldn’t grab on to that, it receded for a period of time, then gave rise to the Gentiles who Perez is a picture of, coming forth and taking that.
Man, what can ya say about this crazy story?! And again, in that culture you have to understand, for a woman to be without child was to be ridiculed.
This really gives us insight into the moral deterioration of Judah. Not only did he seek the services of a prostitute, but of a prostitute he thought was financing pagan worship. Word comes to him a bit later that Tamar is pregnant by harlotry. And what does he want to do with Tamar? He wants to start her on fire!
I've always found it interesting that the sin a person tends to speak out about the most is often a sin the person is hiding in their own life. Psychologists would call this “textbook projection” on the part of Judah. I have seen over the years that when a person is reactionary over to the point where they're just over the top in their attack against a certain sin, then that can very well clue you in on the fact that they may have that struggle going on in their own life.
Here’s self-righteous Judah - “Bring that gal in here and let’s start her on fire.”
“Yeah, that’s right, I’m pregnant, not sure who the guy is, but here’s the ring and bracelet and staff... does this look familiar to you Judah?”
Let me say this: Spirituality is not evidenced by the standards which we hold for others, no matter how vigorously! God judges men on the basis of those standards by which THEY live their OWN LIVES!
Judah was willing to stone Tamar and then burn her body for the very sin which he committed.
In the NT we find the same concept: Romans 2:1 - “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”
So he gets busted, but this IS a turning point. God brought Judah to this place to acknowledge Him and repent, and he did so. And did so in a way that didn’t point to HER sin, but rather to his own lack of righteousness. It might shock you to discover that, through Perez now, this bastard child of an incestuous consumation, through this child will come DAVID! Who then will come? - Christ!
Jesus of Nazareth descended from this group of pathological people!
There are a number of applications from this into the temperature of the family of Judah. And probably the most prominent is the continuing deterioration that a child of God will go through when he removes himself from the things of God and the people of God. What happens when you have a bunch of hot coals from a fire and you take one of those coals and toss it 20’ away? What’s going to happen? It’s going to die out. And the devil knows this all too well and will do whatever he can to dilute your commitment to your particular Church family!
If you make it to Church once a month and surround yourself with Canaanites the rest of the week, don’t be too surprised to find yourself making very little, if not backwards, progress. That is the tragedy of spiritual blindness in 2 Cor. 4:4,that is the tragedy of Judah.
Join us next week as we conclude Genesis 38.
Blessings to you all.