Tamar: God Opens Our Eyes to Injustice
As Tim Keller says, “the story of Judah and Tamar certainly illustrates that the Bible is not a series of moral stories about people that will inspire us to live godly lives.” No, the Bible is not about man but about God. This changes the way we read the Bible.
Up until the 1600′s, scientists thought the sun revolved around the earth. That one mistaken belief led to thousands of other mistaken beliefs. When Copernicus discovered that the earth actually revolved around the sun, it righted so many misinterpretations.
In the same way, many misinterpret the Bible, seeing man at the center. They read the Bible as a book of heroic stories, and it leads to a multitude of wrong beliefs. The Bible is not about us, not about a series of heroes, but about God. God does not revolve around us, we revolve around Him. He is a merciful God who sees us as we are—sinful, manipulative, and selfish—and loves us. He wants to refine us and change us, and when we are victims of injustice, even though we are sinful, He fights for us. He is our Hero, our Rescuer, our Wonderful Merciful Savior.
Was Tamar wrong to use sexual entrapment? Absolutely. But it is fascinating when Judah says: “She is more righteous than I.” Perhaps you have heard it said that all sins are the same. While it is true that all sins result in the same guilty pronouncement that leads to death, Scripture confirms that not all sins are the same in God’s eyes. Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission, has said that the two worst sins according to Scripture are idolatry and injustice. We need to be most concerned about the sins that break God’s heart and tear us to pieces. It isn’t that we shouldn’t care about all sin, for all sin grieves God and hurts us, but so often we are like the Pharisees, swallowing camels and choking on gnats.
This is a story of how God hates injustice and fights for the widow, the orphan, the abused. This is a story of our merciful God breaking through to a man who was blind. God will bring fire into our lives to refine us, for He cares so much for us.
Like all of us, Judah had a sin nature. He needed the Potter to put him over the fire.
It isn’t that God didn’t care about Judah’s unhappiness on earth—He cared more about making him holy. It isn’t that God didn’t understand how Judah had been hurt—how his father had favored his brother Joseph. God knows that the sin of others often exacerbates sin in ourselves. But He still wanted Judah to become the man he designed him to be. Keller thinks Judah began “to go bad” the day that he and his brothers chose to throw their brother in the pit and deceive their father with a “kid.” They took the blood of a goat, smeared it on the coat of many colors, and brought it to Jacob.
Many years later, Judah himself would be deceived with a “kid.” This time Tamar would be the one doing the deceiving. Oh—this is a story!
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