Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tamar Gives Birth to Twins - Genesis 38:27-30

And it came about at the times she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself! So he was named Perez. And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.

So rather than being burned as was the custom for a woman who had sex outside of marriage, Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law, was spared as he admitted his part in her pregnancy. In a few short months, Tamar was about to give birth to twins. What happened on that day as the midwife facilitated those births was both interesting and significant. One of the twins managed to stick his hand out of Tamar’s birth canal. Seeing it, the midwife immediately tied a scarlet thread on it to indentify that child as being the firstborn. But it appears that God had other plans. The ‘newly marked’ child withdrew his hand back into the womb and his brother exited the canal first instead.

Surprised at this turn of events, the midwife declares the actual firstborn as having “created a breach” and thus names him Perez (or Pharez in the King James Version). This is indeed the child through which God had intended to fulfill the covenant He had first made with Abraham. This genealogy was to be through Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law and not through the sons that his wife Shuah had given him before she died. Why? Perhaps to simply demonstrate to us that God’s ways are indeed not always our ways. Perhaps to show He can use even those who play the role of a prostitute. There is no person that has stooped so low that God cannot make into a beautiful vessel for His purposes. The word ‘perez’ actually means breach or violation. This child broke the rules on who was to be first. God is no respecter of persons when it comes to being first or second or last.

Recently I had the chance of watching a short clip on Jim Cymbala, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Senior Pastor’s series on prayer. It depicted the life of a renowned makeup artist who at one time was commanding three thousand dollars per day but had ended up in the streets because of his drug addictions. Through of the witness and love and care of one model who introduced him to Christ, this man is now back on his feet, working, loving God, involved in the Church, and being a testimony to Christ around the world. There are millions of stories just like his. God is the ultimate Repairman.

The infant with the scarlet thread tied on his hand in our scripture portion is then named Zerah (which means rising) once he was born.

Tamar’s is a story that once again illustrates the “grace of God” in choosing who He wants to call upon and use for His purposes. Regardless of the role she chose to take on, God’s grace extended His Hand to Tamar and she became chosen for His purposes.

No matter how badly you and I have screwed up or have been misused by others today, we need to remember it is impossible for us to have fallen so far down that God cannot reach our up stretched arm and lift us to His loving heart. May you know really know that today.

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