Old Testament passage for Friday, January 18, 2013: Genesis 37:1-38:30
27 Now when the time came for her to be delivered, behold, there were twins in her womb. 28 And when she was in labor, one baby put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and bound upon it a scarlet thread, saying, This baby was born first. 29 But he drew back his hand, and behold, his brother was born first. And she said, What a breaking forth you have made for yourself! Therefore his name was called Perez [breaking forth]. 30 And afterward his brother who had the scarlet thread on his hand was born and was named Zerah [scarlet]. Genesis 38:27-30 (Amplified)
The story of Judah and Tamar is difficult to read. The Bible never shies away from telling the whole truth in stories like this - no matter how sordid or embarrassing the details. This is a story of deception, immorality, and cruelty. Yet it becomes legendary as a picture of how our great God takes bad situations and redeems them - turns them around.
Tamar was a forgotten woman. Her first husband had died. By Jewish inheritance law, she became wife to her husband's brother. But, this second husband also died. The father of both men was Judah, one of Jacob's twelve sons. Judah had no plans of losing a third son to Tamar, so he stalled her. He lied to her and hoped to be rid of this woman who seemed to be such bad luck to his family.
Through pretending to be a prostitute, Tamar lured her father-in-law into a sexual liaison. By him, she conceived. In a final showdown, Tamar convicted Judah of his injustice toward her. This unusual story would fit easily into the soap operas of our day. It also sits squarely in the lineage of the Son of God!
This is a story of BREAKTHROUGH. When it came time for Tamar to deliver, there were twins. One baby was partially birthed, then withdrew back into the womb. Amazing! Then, the second son was birthed first. They named him Perez, which means "One Who Breaks Through."
While this is a strange story from a natural standpoint, what is the spiritual significance? It is a picture of God's redemption. God takes hopeless, forsaken, forgotten situations and He gives them breakthrough. When it seems that the cards are stacked and the situation beyond remedy, God shows up and turns it around.
Years later, another foresaken, forgotten young widow would have a similar experience. Her name was Ruth. Hers is also a story of heartbreak and intrigue. In the end, she is joined to her kinsman redeemer. His name is Boaz (strength). In their wedding, these words are spoken over her and Boaz: "May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah" (Ruth 4:12).
God is a God of breakthrough. When all seems lost, He turns it around for His glory. He is the God of the impossible. He takes hopeless cases and hopeless people and turns them into examples of His power. That's really the story of the Cross. When the devil did his worst, God showed us His best! It is a story of breakthrough. It is the story of Jesus. And it is the story of you and me.