When we think of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we see a picture of perfection. We see a man who was full of wisdom, kindness, authority, and truth. He was God made flesh to serve as an example to his people, to teach truth, and to make a way for all through his very death and resurrection. For believers, there is no better representation of goodness and holiness. Yet, when we look at the genealogy of Christ, we see women whose lives were less than holy. Why? Were there no women more suitable to be named alongside Mary, his mother? Surely, there were some more worthy to be included in the lineage of Christ. So why did he choose these foreign women? Because he was thinking of us. When he chose them, he made a way to bring us into his great plans.
When looking through spiritual eyes, the redemptive power of Christ is evident. He didn’t only operate in the lives of the outwardly perfect, but he changed hearts and redeemed the imperfect long before he walked the earth. Through these women of faith, we can also take hold of God’s promises for our lives no matter our imperfections or our past and join them in line with the Lord as daughters of the King.
In Line with Jesus- Tamar
Let’s start with Tamar. She was the first woman named in the New Testament (Matthew 1:3). What an honor! She must have been a great woman of God. Well, not really. Tamar was a Canaanite woman. She did not come from a long line of honorable people but from idolatrous people who were cursed by Noah because of their wickedness (Genesis 9:20-27).
Tamar was a Canaanite woman who was selected by Judah (Jacob’s son) to marry his oldest son, Er. Her husband, Er, was wicked in the Lord’s sight, so God killed him. Judah told his second son Onan, “Go have relations with your brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up descendants for your brother” (Gen. 38:8, MEV). According to the Levirate law, if a brother dies without having had a child, the wife of the deceased may not marry outside the family to a stranger but should marry the living brother (Deut. 25:5).
This is done so that the deceased brother’s name could live on through the son of the living brother. However, he was also wicked and spilled his semen to prevent Tamar from getting pregnant. He did this because of the matter of inheritance, so the lord also killed him. The youngest brother was not yet ready for marriage, so Judah sent Tamar back to her family until the time was right. However, he feared for the life of his youngest son and was never planning to honor the Levirate obligation.
Tamar was not free to remarry. She was left to be a widow, shamed, with no one to care for her. But she did not accept her fate.
She took matters into her own hands and orchestrated a plan to have that obligation honored one way or another. When her father-in-law, Judah, was getting his sheep sheared, she took off her widow’s clothes and dressed as a prostitute. She covered her face with a veil and positioned herself on the road where she knew he would pass. Also knowing his wife had died, she hoped he would proposition her so that she could have relations with him. When he passed her, he did proposition her and offered her a young goat from his flock. Since he didn’t have the goat with him, she asked him for a pledge of his signet, bracelets, and staff until she received her payment.
All went as she planned and she became pregnant. Upon hearing about her pregnancy, Judah was sentencing her to death by fire. Anticipating that, she sent him his pledge and informed him that the person to whom the items belonged was the father. He recognized them and said, “She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son” (38:26). Her life was preserved, and she gave birth to twins, Perez and Zerah.
Now if you’re thinking she’s gross and caused him to be incestuous, I can relate. However, she was actually justified by the law. Her father-in-law could also fulfill the Levirate marriage by impregnating his deceased son’s wife so long as he never slept with her again. Verse 26 does let us know that he never again had relations with her.
We know that in the natural, Tamar was granted twin sons who would grow and care for her. At that time, being a mother was very important and Tamar was blessed to have twins. But what she may not have known was that in the spiritual, her seed (Perez) would lead to the seed of Mary (Jesus) who would change the course of the world as we know it!
Have you ever let your past bring you down? Do you remember who you once were or the mistakes you made and think you could never come back from that? Well, I’m here to tell you that you are not the sum of all your mistakes. In fact, if you have accepted Christ and truly repented of those sins, you have been washed clean! I mean, spotless. Really. So praise God that he loves you despite it all and ask him what good he has in store for you.
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