“I looked, but there was no one to help;
I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold;
so my own arm brought me salvation,
and my wrath upheld me.”
“I’ll wrassle me up a future or die trying.”
---Zora Neale Hurston
“Viewed in theological terms, Tamar’s willingness to go beyond social convention and even to risk her life results in her creating the conditions where her own future, Judah’s future, and even Israel’s future fit providentially into God’s plan for getting the whole world blessed.”
---“The Faith of the Outsider: Exclusion and Inclusion in the Biblical Story”, by Frank Spina
Note: Sunday worship at 10:15 AM
In-person worship and live stream
No Christian Formation this week
Dear Grace Family,
We continue our journey through Genesis with a section of the Joseph narrative that is often overlooked or mishandled--the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38. Keeping with our practice of walking through each section of Scripture, we will not skip over tales that are hard to understand or that may have disturbing elements to them. That said we do want to let you know that this chapter and our sermon this Sunday does contain explicit elements (misogyny, sexual assault, sexual situations), so please gauge your own ability to hear hard things as well as that of your children on Sunday morning.
However, please do not let the “parental advisory” warning above obscure the fact that Genesis 38 not only fits well within the larger Joseph story, (Genesis 37-50), but also contains a real message of redemption for our real world today.
Tersely summarized, Tamar’s story is one of very real trauma at the hands of selfish men—men of God—and how God works through Tamar to further the promises of Abraham. Any veteran of church life knows that behind all of our smiles and well-wishes, our Christian communities house broken people--and in this case specifically men--who misuse their privilege to satiate their desires. These modern-day Esau’s are driven by their bellies, rather than the Word of God and the New Testament warns of such wolves in sheep’s clothing (2 Peter 2:12-16).
The scandalous reality for our text is that the person who is perpetrating on our protagonist (Tamar) is none other than Judah, grandson of Abraham. Judah’s life is an absolute mess in this narrative, as he is driven by his desires and walls off Tamar from any option of new life, while also nearly closing the door to the furtherance of Abraham’s line, (Gen 38:6-11,14).
Yet where we may stymie the things of the Lord—He always breaks through! By God’s invisible hand, Tamar moves from victim to vindicator by which her name is cleared, she is financially supported, and God’s purpose of breaking forth blessing to the world may continue. It is a fitting thing that when naming Tamar's tenacious son Perez is born, it is exclaimed of him “what a breach you have made for yourself!” (Gen 38:29).
The son mimics the mother; Tamar breaks through convention by God’s providential hand and wins the victory.
In like manner, one of Tamar’s descendants would also break forth through the callousness and wickedness of God’s people and win a mighty salvation! By Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, God makes a way out of no way! This is a mighty hope for the Church today, that despite our villainy God’s righteousness will always prevail—especially on behalf of those who are the lost (Judah), the locked up (Joseph), and the left out (Tamar).
May the Lord be with us as we study and dwell on this challenging, yet hopeful passage!
This Sunday: Genesis 38
"What a Breach You Have Made for Yourself!”
Here is the Order of Worship.
Blessings to you,
P.S. - Blessings to all of our Sister's at the Grace Women's Retreat! Pray that it will be a wonderful time by all who attend physically and in spirit. Additionally, this 'Rona is out here y'all! If you are not feeling well please stay home, take a test, and/or wear a mask if you are concerned while attending. Thanks Friends!