Have you noticed how some people, be it in the family, place of employment, neighborhood and church can be extremely status conscious? I recall as a new convert I became aware of how one church’s pastor’s wife was addressed (in another language) as “Mrs. Pastor”. Many years later in time I found this to be true in other cultures.
Far too many thrive on status … who they are, what their qualifications are, what work they do, where they live, what vehicle they drive … etc. This is not an attack on those who are wealthy, live in “upper class suburbs” and drive expensive cars. If they can afford it and through prayer God gives them the all-clear to live in a certain place, have certain assets and work at a prestigious company … that’s totally fine with me. My concern is when people use their status to create an image–especially in the Church, because as I see Church, it is a place where everyone is equal:
Rom 3:22 There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
And through the same Blood Sacrifice, each is brought to redemption by grace and through faith:
Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Taking this a little further, we find many in the church looking down upon others of a different ethnicity, language or culture. I wonder what Jesus would say to this? Join me on a short journey over a few days …
Tamar Presented Herself as a Prostitute
Ge 38:6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’S sight; so the LORD put him to death.
Judah was one of Jacob’s sons. With all the good intentions in the world, he helped his son Er settle down in marriage. But Er was not a good man and God took his life. Judah then tells his next in line son to honour his late brother through taking his sister-in-law as a wife and making her pregnant to ensure his brother’s name continues. Gen 38:8-10 describes his deceit and sin and God takes his life as well. Then Judah goes to Tamar, saying:
Ge 38:11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.
Judah’s commitment to provide his youngest son in marriage was a lie … see what he thought at the end of verse 11. After a period of time, Judah’s wife died. After his mourning period he travelled down to Timnah on business and to visit a friend. Tamar hears of this and removes her widow’s clothing and disguising herself, sitting in a prominent place where Judah would see her on his journey. Remember, the third son was not given to her as a husband.
Ge 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 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.”
Whether this is what Tamar intended or not, she engages with him as to “a price for sex”. All he could do was promise to send her a goat … and it seems she accepts this offer but requires some sort of guarantee that the goat will arrive. She asks:
Ge 38:18 “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. 19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.
Judah honoured his commitment, but the “prostitute was not to be found”. Three months later Judah received a message saying:
Ge 38:24 “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”
By Judah’s reaction it seemed he was more than angry … “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” Yet Tamar was shrewd, sending a message to Judah:
Ge 38:25 “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 immediately recognized his sin as he saw his possessions … 26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.”
You may read the story of the birth in verses 27-30. Tamar gave birth to twins … Perez and Zerah. Nothing seems fancy about this … until you look forward to Jacob’s blessings upon his sons … to Judah it was Genesis 48:8-12. Specifically:
Ge 49:10 “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”
When you think Messianic Bloodline from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob … it follows through Judah … and this verse (10) is our proof. So it seems that unless Judah’s youngest son gave him grandsons, Perez and Zerah were the only two he had, and although Zerah stuck his hand out first, Perez was born first. Look at
Mt 1:1 “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron …”
Perez is part of the Bloodline to Messiah! And who was his mother? Judah’s daughter-in-law who pretended to be a prostitute with the express purpose of catching him out for his lie. Although we will pursue this thought for a few days, for today note that part of the Bloodline to Jesus was a deceiving woman who was hurt and sought revenge through an act of prostitution. Ought we to look down on anyone, irrespective who they are, where they live, what work they do, what social and economic level they are in? If this is part of Jesus’ bloodline and we are part of His blood canopy over our sin … who are we to think we are better than another person … especially if they are part of the Body of Christ?
Dear Lord God Almighty, forgive me for each time I have thought myself better than another. I’m so privileged to be Your child … underserving as I am. Give me a heart for all people, whoever they are … especially for those who are part of Your Eternal Family, for Jesus sake … Amen.