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CURVATURE OF THE SOUL

MARTIN LUTHER USED THE PHRASE “CURVATURE OF THE SOUL”

THIS BENT WE HAVE TOWARD REJECTING THE GOSPEL

FORGETTING HOW SINFUL WE ARE OURSELVES

AND HOW DESPERATE FOR GRACE

SO THAT OUR LIVES ARE FILLED WITH “UNGRACE”

LIKEWISE

HEBREWS WARNS AGAINST “A ROOT OF BITTERNESS”

WHEN YOU GIVE INTO HATE

IT FESTERS AND GROWS

AND TWISTS YOUR SOUL,

DEFILING MANY

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


TIM KELLER SAYS THAT THE WORD FOR

WRATH

HAS THE SAME ORIGIN AS

WREATH

MEANING “TO TWIST”

JUST AS BRANCHES ARE TWISTED TO MAKE A WREATH

P1120035_Birch18

SO OUR SOULS CAN BE TWISTED BY WRATH

LIKEWISE THE WORD

WRAITHE

DESCRIBES A GHOST THAT WAS SO TWISTED

BY BITTERNESS IN LIFE

THAT IN THE AFTERLIFE HE CONTINUES HIS HELLISH EXISTENCE

HAUNTING AND HATING

FOREVERMORE

wraith

WHEN JUDAH, TWISTED WITH HATE FOR HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW TAMAR,

DISCOVERED SHE HAD COMMITTED ADULTERY

HE COMMANDED SHE BE BURNED TO DEATH

HOSEA PROPHESIED THAT A DAY WAS COMING WHEN

THAT DOUBLE STANDARD WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED, FOR HE SAID

NASB_Hosea_4-14

JESUS FULFILLED THAT WHEN THE PHARISEES

BROUGHT A WOMAN (AND ONLY THE WOMAN) CAUGHT IN ADULTERY

HE WOULD NOT ALLOW HER ACCUSERS TO STONE HER

YET AMAZINGLY, OUR LORD CARES NOT ONLY ABOUT THE OPPRESSED

BUT THE OPPRESSER

HE WANTED TO BREAK THROUGH TO JUDAH

SO THAT HE WOULD NOT BE ETERNALLY TWISTED

BUT SET FREE

This is such an eye-opening passage and sermon from Keller. I have thought about the women participating in this blog who have been deeply hurt by someone. I think about the individuals who have brought great pain into the life of someone I love. I tend to fester and hate. My curvature of the soul leads me to begin to characterize that person as an evil person, throwing darts in them as Judah did with Tamar. That is not to say that there was not real sin involved (as there was in Tamar) but that we can augment it, stereotyping, and refusing to look at the sin in ourselves. We must guard our hearts when we have been hurt and not give the devil a foothold.

Oh Father, may I and each woman doing this study be open to Your reproval, and to turn from the darkness to the light, “so that what is lame may not be put our of joint but rather healed.” (Hebrews 12:13) Help our souls to untwist and glorify You

SUNDAY/MONDAY ICEBREAKER

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Most of us, like Judah, have hated, have experienced this twisting of our soul.

Can you share a time when God “broke through” to help you  recognize your own wrong?

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY: THE RESCUE OF JUDAH

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD2PJ0xbAdY

(Sing this as a prayer)

(This is a continuation of last week — so if you just joined us, read last week’s blog on Tamar.)

3. Meditate on Hebrews 12:14-15

     A. What command are we given?

     B. What warning? (Find warnings within the warning!)

    

Keller traces a phrase “Haker na” or “Recognize” When Judah and his brothers threw Joseph in the pit, they brought his coat to Jacob, saying “Haker na?” — Do you recognize this? When Judah accused Tamar of adultery, she sent him his staff, and asked, “Haker na?” — Do you recognize this?

4. Review Genesis 38:24-26

     A. How did Judah respond in verse 26?

     B. This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement?

       C. What change do you see in Judah that indicated the untwisting of his soul? (Look carefully and give phrases.)

Joseph becomes a Prime Minister in Egypt and the brothers do not know it. They travel to Egypt to ask for food in a time of barrenness, and Joseph tests their hearts to see if there has been a change. He tricks them by putting a silver cup in Benjamin’s sack of grain. He tells them he will let them go, but will keep Benjamin. (Benjamin is the only other son of Rachel, Joseph’s full brother.)

5. Read Genesis 44:16-34

      Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted — that he now has a heart of compassion.

Thursday-Friday: Listen again to the following and then answer the questions. It’s free. It looks like you will pay, but you won’t have to.

HERE’S THE LINK TO THE SERMON ON TAMAR: LINK 

6. Why did Hosea 4:14 say that God would not punish the women caught in adultery? What does this tell you?

7. Keller said that what Judah was saying was not that Tamar was innocent, but that he was more guilty. What thoughts

do you have about this?

8. Keller said that Judah needed to believe bad things about Tamar. He was continually “sticking pins” in her in his mind. Have you done that with anyone? Has the Lord broken through to you?

9. How does Keller (as only Keller can do) have Judah point to the “ultimate” Judah?

Saturday:

10. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

 

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344 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    The video..I am like those men who were going to stone her-judgmental look at other’s sins and not my own, yet needy for His Mercy and Grace like the woman for I sin!

    Also the twisting of the soul-how easily our condemnation of others when they sin against us leads to bitterness-how satan uses it to crush us and destroy us, but how God wants to free us like He did with Judah-how He wants to jolt us awake.

    2. Most of us, like Judah, have hated, have experienced this twisting of our soul.

    Can you share a time when God “broke through” to help you recognize your own wrong?

    I have to go back to when my first husband left me. I was a brand new believer the last year of our marriage. He left out of the blue-when I came home from work everything was gone. I was devastated, but when I found out he was seeing someone else-I was angry-went into anger mode and remember screaming on the phone to him-“How could you do this to me?!” My soul was beginning to twist..I didn’t realize it but God went before me and was breaking through in my heart before my husband left..I happened to be reading the book “Beloved Unbeliever-Loving your husband into the faith” and I was working on our marriage-really loving him-God revealed to me through that book, my sin which was not loving him well..so God was already softening my heart toward him and had me razor focused on his spiritual condition, not his sin and had me focused on repenting and turning from my sin.

    While I was hurt and angry-especially when he filed for divorce so quickly after he left-and when I tried to recommend us getting into counseling he refused. Eventually God broke through again before my soul could twist any further. I can’t recall exactly how God did it but He had my eyes focused on HIM-I recall saying to myself-Okay my husband is gone, I will solely focus on Jesus, and as I kept Him as the center of my life-as a single especially- I could really focus on Him. I was able to forgive my husband completely for leaving me and having an affair-I think it was easier because God showed me my sin in the marriage of not loving well so I didn’t see him leaving me as it all being his fault even though having the affair was wrong. There was no hate, no animosity, nothing bad against him at all. That is the Lord-not me. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing that rebecca. And look what God had in store for you…your wonderful husband and boys…things always turn out for the best when we love God!

  2. Sisters, I have tried to read some of your comments! Thanks so much for praying for me..I am on the mend but have this horrible cough..I have a history of-I can’t recall but think they said they suspected I had COPD..whatever that is but I have to be careful when these things go to my lungs..I have had bronchitis about every year and pneumonia a couple of times so I am keeping an eye on it to see if it gets better. I am sure it will..Thanks so much for praying! I just enjoy not having those horrible body aches anymore-Praise God these things pass! 🙂

    1. I’ve missed you so much Rebecca–will continue to pray for complete healing!

    2. Good to hear the you are improving, Rebecca. Take good care.

    3. chronic obstructive pulmanary disorder. 🙂 basicly the lining of your lungs gets swollen and you cant get enough air in them. take care of yourself!

      1. Cyndi, THanks for that info-you must be right because that is what it is basically! I have had asthma my whole life along with chronic bronchitis the past five or six years. A few years ago when they had me blow in this tube it was way below what it should be, and the Doctor said, you mean you have been like this for this long and not gotten seen? I am not great at going to the Doctor..So then he prescribed Advair. 🙂

    4. Is it the influenza A or B? We have the B and Kendra and I had the flu shot last Oct. It is a nagging deep cough that is so hard to get rid of. Please take care, so it don’t get worse.

      1. Joyce, I am not sure what type..In my case I got on Tamiflu right away which made a huge difference. Some doctors say it doesn’t make a difference but this is my second go around with the drug and it does for me at least. I do have that nagging cough left over but I am doing my asthma inhaler in the morning and that seems to help throughout the day-but at night it is hard to breathe-so I have to take it again.

    5. Thanks ladies for praying for me, I am feeling much better. 🙂

      1. So glad to know it!

  3. Judah’s turn was huge! For one I am sure based on the pattern of favorites that Benjamin was probably treated with more favoritism than Joseph. Yet Judah pledged his life for safely returning Benjamen. So now we see an exchange, take me in my brothers place. Judah now knows too what this will do to his father if he loses the last son of his beloved Rachel. Judah is no longer thinking of himself.

  4. 3. Meditate on Hebrews 12:14-15

         A. What command are we given?
    I read the passage as well as a reference from Deuteronomy 29:18
    “…that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood ”
    Bitterness is like a bad cancerous growth that starts with resentment and animosity in one person but quickly spread to a group of individuals.
    It zaps you of your focus, peace and eventually your relationship with Christ.
    I’ve seen bitterness spread in my own family. It’s a generational curse. My grandfather was a bitter resentful man who hated my grandmother and did nothing but talk ill of my grandmother even though she passed years before he did. He was bitter with her because she would not divorce him. I heard stories in my family of how my one Aunt refused to talk to her own mother for over twenty years.
    I have a brother and sister who have not spoken in over 30 yrs to each other.
    My mother is bitter and resentful toward my father and jokes she knows she will go to hell over it.
    I have struggled in this area my whole life but only recently have started to allow the Holy Spirit in me to release myself from the anger I have held toward certain individuals. This have given me great inner peace and has helped me to grow in the Lord.
         B. What warning? (Find warnings within the warning!)
    In Deauteronmy bitterness is warned to not spread through the community and eventually nation.
    In Hebrews it is warned to not spread in the individual , it can quickly grow and reach those around you.

    1. As I read this I thought is seems a picture of what Satan has done…spread his bitterness like a cancer.

      “Bitterness is like a bad cancerous growth that starts with resentment and animosity in one person but quickly spread to a group of individuals.”

  5. Meditate on Hebrews 12:14-15
    What command are we given?

    We are commanded to strive for peace with EVERYONE. Looking up the definition helped me, this requires effort on my part.

    definition of STRIVE
    1: to devote serious effort or energy : endeavor
    2: to struggle in opposition : contend

    We are commanded also to look to the interest of others by making sure they do not fail to obtain grace.

    And to be on the lookout for roots of bitterness :

    BiblicalDefinition: Holding on to or showing feelings of intense [strong] animosity [hatred, anger], resentment or vindictiveness [wanting to get back at someone]. — Other words that describe bitterness are: merciless, unforgiving, holding a grudge. Bitterness is also described as feelings resulting from something that is difficult to accept.

  6. Review Genesis 38:24-26
    A. How did Judah respond in verse 26?
    Judah responded with acknowledgment for his part in the situation. The message version states “She is in the right; I am in the wrong”. He did not say we both messed up. He sees that if he had done right to begin with that she would not have been in a situation to sin.

    This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement?

    It makes me think how a sin we commit, whether it be inward or outward, can lead others to sin and stumble in their walk. Although we may never know the end results here on earth and see the “womb” bearing our transgressions, we are in the wrong. I must be on high alert to keep vigilant in my walk.

    I do not want to pass germs when I am ill especially to those I love. I try to ensure harmful bacteria and viruses do not spread to others, making them ill and suffer. I will wash my hands a million times before holding or playing with my grandchildren who are especially vulnerable. As soon as I realize I am ill I take precaution to protect others from the potential suffering. I must also keep vigilant that my sin is discovered as soon as it forms. It must be exposed and removed in order to protect others from the illness, suffering and destruction I may spread. As I strive to demonstrate God’s love to the people here on earth I want to help protect them from the suffering sin causes.

    1. Thanks for your analogy, Becca. I don’t think I ever thought of bitterness in that context, but how true…

  7. What warning? (Find warnings within the warning!)

    I must be overdoing it but I see more than one?
    “That we will not see the Lord without the holiness we must strive for”
    and “that roots of bitterness will cause trouble and defile many.”

    I am eager to know more about this passage.
    The commentaries I read didn’t illuminate much

      1. Thank you Dee!
        I read through this one and it lead me to hunt for this one, a sermon on both verses;

        http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols16-18/chs940.pdf

        I am so behind with my work, and absolutely must get to the vet and then grocery shop so my summary will have to wait. Both the sermons were so rich!
        I am convicted about a couple of things, one relational and one personal after reading these.

        We have been pounded with heavy snow and bitter cold, I haven’t left the house since we got home Monday night. Today is sunny and not so very cold, so out I must go!

        1. I have sort of gone off on a tangent here, I know this is long, no one needs to feel compelled to read it, I am doing it for myself!

          14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

          I have had a limited understanding (and still do, I know), of what the holiness that we are called to strive for really is, or what it looks like.

          I knew that to be holy meant to be ‘set apart’

          The following is from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

          “In psalm and prophecy, however, a purely ethical conception comes into view–the conception of a human holiness which rests upon righteousness and truth (Psalms 15:1) and the possession of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15). This corresponds to the knowledge of a God who, being Himself ethically holy, esteems justice, mercy and lowly piety more highly than sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8).”

          “But Jesus proclaimed a new view of religion and morality according to which men are cleansed or defiled, not by anything outward, but by the thoughts of their hearts (Matthew 15:17-20), and God is to be worshipped neither in Samaria nor Jerusalem, but wherever men seek Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:21-24).
          The New Testament leaves no room for the thought of a holiness divorced from those moral qualities which the holy God demands of those whom He has called to be His people.”

          I see the temptation to legalism that can be indulged as one starts to think of personal holiness. There is always that inclination to compare ourselves with others. But I am convicted that I have taken too light a view of the call to work hard at being set apart, in my thoughts and actions, especially were food is concerned. It consumes far too much of my thoughts time and effort. I indulge my comfort idol through food and feel the need to take stock in this bent and provide more resistance than I have been willing or able to in the past.

          Spurgeon on Holiness:
          “Now, we do not follow imputed righteousness, for as soon as we put our trust in Christ we are justified through His righteousness. It is not a Grace to be followed, it is a benefit possessed already by every Christian. This text deals with inward, personal holiness, and nothing else. Imputed holiness is a gross misuse of terms. It is not Scriptural, and it is a thorough perversion of this passage to force such a sense upon it. This is a holiness produced in us by the Holy Spirit, which we progressively manifest in our hearts and lives.”

          “Follow holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.” I understand by this sentence, in the first place, that no person who is unholy can see or understand Christ the Lord, or God His Father. That is to say, he does not know who Christ is so as to have any real fellowship with Him. He may know His name, and know His history, and have some theo- retical ideas of what the Redeemer did and is, but he cannot see with spiritual eyesight as holy men do. He cannot, in fact, discern the spiritual Character and teaching of the Lord.”

          “Now, see, my dear Friends, the text says, “Follow holiness.” Follow it, that is to say, you will not gain it by standing still. Nobody ever grew holy without consenting, desiring, and agonizing to be holy. Sin will grow without sowing, but holiness needs cultivation. Follow it, it will not run after you. You must pursue it with determination, with eagerness, with long-continued perseverance, as a hunter pursues his prey. You have not yet gained all the holiness which you may have and ought to have.”

          “A moral man does not swear, but a holy man adores. A moral man would not commit outward sin. A holy man would not commit inward sin—and over that inward sin, if committed—he would pour forth floods of tears. I can hardly explain to you the word “holy,” except by calling you to notice that it comes from the same Saxon root as the words “heal,” “whole,” and “all.” A man who is made spiritually whole is a complete man, all the virtues are there. His heart is right as well as his outward acts. Heal, all, whole, wholly, holy, by these steps you reach the word. A holy man aims to be like God, complete in His Character, motives, and thoughts—renewed after the image of Him that created Him in righteousness and true holiness.”

          This from Spurgeon was a comfort…I do have the desire… the yearning.

          “Now, if our text said that, without perfection of holiness, no man, could have any communion with Christ, it would shut every one of us out, for no one, who knows his own heart, ever pretends to be perfectly conformed to God’s will. It does not say, “Perfection of holiness,” mark; but “holiness.” This holiness is a thing of growth. It may be in the soul as the grain of mustard-seed, and yet not developed; it may be in the heart as a wish and a desire, rather than anything that has been fully realized,—a groaning, a panting, a longing, a striving. As the Spirit of God waters it, it will grow till the mustard-seed shall become a tree. Holiness, in a regenerate heart, is but an infant; it is not matured,—perfect it is in all its parts, but not perfect in its development. Hence, when we find many imperfections and many failings in ourselves, we are not to conclude that, therefore, we have no interest in the grace of God.”

          The next verse after the ones we have been studying convicted me, especially after I read the commentary below on it.

          “16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. “

          From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary On the Whole Bible:
          fornicator– (Heb 13: 4; 1Co 10: 8). or profane– Fornication is nearly akin to gluttony, Esau’s sin. He profanely cast away his spiritual privilege for the gratification of his palate. Ge 25: 34 graphically portrays him. An example well fitted to strike needful horror into the Hebrews, whosoever of them, like Esau, were only sons of Isaac according to the flesh [BENGEL]. for one morsel– The smallness of the inducement only aggravates the guilt of casting away eternity for such a trifle, so far is it from being a claim for mercy (compare Ge 3: 6). One single act has often the greatest power either for good or for evil.”

          Yikes, this is quite a warning! It is easy to skip over it sort of thinking ‘I have no birthright to loose as Esau did’, but we/ I am warned so what am I giving up when I lust after food?

          I am praying for a greater awareness of my sin here, for a loosing of the bonds it has on me by the Spirit. I shopped very differently yesterday. I desire to have food and eating to be appropriate, a good gift enjoyed rightly, not elevated, not worshipped. I have sort of winked at gluttony,I certainly have not “poured forth floods of tears” over it. I don’t want it to come between Christ and me anymore.

          Spurgeon:
          “I do not suppose any of us have in our most desponding moments ever grasped the desperate character of our own ruin by nature, and the terrible character of our personal sinfulness apart from Christ. You are undone. In your flesh there dwells no clean thing, and even your righteousnesses are as filthy rags. O child of God, get to the foot of the Cross and lie there. But what then? By all-conquering faith look up and say, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, my faith is fixed on Him. O You precious Lamb of God, like the publican I cry, ‘Be merciful to me, a sinner,’ renew me, cleanse me, purge me. I hate my sins, deliver me from their power, keep me that I sin not against You. Hold me up and I shall be safe. On the blood which cleanses I depend. O let it come to me in all its purifying, sanctifying, force—and make and keep me pure within!”

          The second thing the Spurgeon sermons and contemplating these verses convicted me of was that maybe I do have a root of bitterness where my sister is concerned.
          I have mentioned her before, she was married to a manipulative controlling husband who separated her from everyone, he treated us as enemies who were not to be trusted. They hurt our family repeatedly, said so many untrue and hurtful things. I thought I had forgiven, but now she is struggling and I feel angry when I think about her. If she is in need of my help, I don’t want to be indifferent, I am praying for guidance, if I need to repent where she is concerned that God will make that plain to me. I am praying for emotional health and restoration for the whole family.

          This is from Spurgeon on pursuing peace:
          “The text says, “Follow peace,” and the word “follow” indicates a hunter in pursuit of his game. He tracks the foot- steps of his prey. He follows it over hill and dale, by the edge of the precipice, over the dangerous ridge, across the brook and along the river, through the wood and down the glen. Follow peace in this way. That is, do not merely be peaceful if nobody irritates you, but go out of your way to be peaceful—give up many things that you have a right to enjoy. The respect that is due to you, be willing to forego. In fine, yield all but Truth for peace’s sake.
          “Charity suffers long, and is kind.” “Charity bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Often the Alpine hunter, when pursuing the chamois, will leap from crag to crag. He will wear out the live-long day. He will spend the night upon the mountain’s cold brow, and then descend to the valleys. Then it is up again to the hills—as though he could never tire, and could never rest until he has found his prey. So perseveringly, with strong resolve to imitate your Lord and Master, follow peace with all.”
          Sorry this is so long, I needed to form my thoughts and am grateful for the opportunity

        2. LOVE all of this Spurgeon–I have always loved his “directness”. Thanks for posting Chris, I’m still “chewing” on it…“’Follow holiness.’ Follow it, that is to say, you will not gain it by standing still.”

        3. Chris, Thank you for going off on a tangent…I have gone back to read this a few times. I love Spurgeon, I have a very thick book with a number of his sermons and God has used them alot in speaking to me in the things I need to hear. Actually the one thing that God reminded me of is that it has been some time since the last time I worked through a Spurgeon sermon and that is something I need to do on a more regular basis. But thank you again, your “tangent” helped me alot this week.

  8. 5. Read Genesis 44:16-34
    Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted — that he now has a heart of compassion.
    “we stand guilty before you, ready to be your slaves” Judah knowing he had not stolen from Joseph’s house was taking responsibility in spite of his innocence. Offering himself to take the blame and share the burden of his brothers!
    “He’ll die of grief and we,…will have killed him” demonstrating that Judah rather than blaming Benjamin as guilty, entitled to slavery and responsible for Isaac’s death (due to his absence)- took responsibility onto himself for being the potential catalyst in Isaac’s death.
    “Let me stay here as your slave”- this makes me weep as I feel this symbolizes the sacrifice Christ made for us by standing in our place and taking our punishment.
    If I am truly following Christ, I need to walk away from proving I am right/righteous and take on other’s pain.

    1. ““Let me stay here as your slave”- this makes me weep as I feel this symbolizes the sacrifice Christ made for us by standing in our place and taking our punishment.”

      I felt the same when I read it

  9. What stood out to you and why?

    The wreath reminds me of all the nights I have spent twisting and turning in bed thinking and rehearsing how I could fix my problems. Instead, i should have turned them over to God, the only one who could help. Please Lord, cleanse me of my idol of pride.

    What command are we given?

    Be the peacemakers of the world. By striving for peace, you are showing grace to others.

    What warning?

    Do not let the root of bitterness take hold, as it will keep coming back and cause trouble.

    How Did Judah respond in Verse 26?

    He recognized her righteousness and his own sin.

    This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement.

    He admitted in front of others that he had sinned against her. His pride would have been hurt. I believe admitting to others our sin is the first step in healing. He also acknowledged that he lied to her about his son, Shelah. He thought her to be more righteous than him, even when she sinned also.

    Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted – that he now has a heart of compassion.

    Being innocent, he took the blame along with Benjamin for the cup found in Benjamin’s sack. He had compassion for his fathers other son by Rachel by not wanting to take him from his father. He would have given his life so Benjamin could return to his father.

  10. 4. Review Genesis 38:24-26

    A. How did Judah respond in verse 26? He stopped is vendetta against Tamar and said that she was more righteous than him.

    B. This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement?
    He didn’t make excuses for himself or follow through with his vengeance against Tamar. God is more concerned with injustices (especially against widows and orphans) than He is with individual sin.

    The issue that I haven’t seen discussed is that Shelah was sinning also. As a man, it was his duty to raise up an offspring for his brother, not wait for his father to get the ball rolling or wait for his permission.
    Tamar had recourse also which she failed to do she should have brought the matter to the elders.

    Deut. 25:5 5 “When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall [a]assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. 7 But if the man does not desire to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ 9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 In Israel his name shall be called, ‘The house of him whose sandal is removed.’ ”

    Even though multiple sins were committed, God used these people to bless the world through eternity. Perez grew to be so great a man that he was used as a blessing “Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the Lord will give you by this young woman.” Ruth 4:12.

    If everyone had made the right choices then Christ still would have been from the line of Judah, just with Shelah as a father. Instead although we are given free will and we make horrible decisions, God’s will and purpose is still done. Through His grace He uses our sin for good. That doesn’t mean that we should sin—Romans 6:1 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be!…”

    1. Good stuff Dawn!

  11. Dawn I reread this a few times “God’s will and purpose is still done. Through His grace He uses our sin for good.” I keep thinking how great is our God who overcomes and completes His will in spite of our failures. And isnt it so amazing how we get to see the big picture- the complete story of a repentant sinner played out! It gives hope that our past mistakes do not limit our ability to serve God in a mighty way. I know how I appreciate and find hope in the success stories of overcomers- such as someone overweight or financially struggling who succeed and overcome similar challenges as I face. those stories mean much more to me than the always been thin /always been financially secure. God’s word is filled with “see what I, the almighty creator, did in this pathetic life- give me a chance and I can do great things for the kingdom with yours too! when i read of the failures of humans and the triumph of God I am renewed. I am like Judah. I embrace my selfishness and insecurities rather than obey my Father. Yet in his story I am reminded of how God can work in spite of my failure and sin if only I chose Him! Hallelujah!

  12. 5. Read Genesis 44:16-34

          Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted — that he now has a heart of compassion.

    He was actually concerned about his father, and what taking Benjamin would do to him. He even offered himself up to take his place.

  13. 4. Review Genesis 38:24-26
    A. How did Judah respond in verse 26?
    He said “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.”
    B. This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement?
    His eyes are opened to his own sin, he is convicted, humbled.
    C. What change do you see in Judah that indicated the untwisting of his soul? (Look carefully and give phrases.)
    He publicly declares her more righteous—owning his sin completely. After he admits his own sin, he turns away from it—the mark of true repentance.

  14. 5. Read Genesis 44:16-34
    Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted — that he now has a heart of compassion.
    Judah cannot bear the thought of putting his father through the pain of losing a son, a second time. He respectfully asks that he go in Benjamin’s place, a substitute, in order to lessen the pain for Jacob.

  15. 6. Why did Hosea 4:14 say that God would not punish the women caught in adultery? What does this tell you?

    Because the men were responsible for their actions. There was a double-standard and God was addressing the sin in the men who were pursuing prostitutes, allowing it to continue. It tells me more of God’s justice, and fairness.

    7. Keller said that what Judah was saying was not that Tamar was innocent, but that he was more guilty. What thoughts do you have about this?

    When Christ brings about spiritual awakening in me, when He opens my eyes to my own sin—one that I was not looking for, one that I was blind to, then I begin to see that I am no better, in fact in my self-righteousness, I am worse than those I have criticized and despised.

    8. Keller said that Judah needed to believe bad things about Tamar. He was continually “sticking pins” in her in his mind. Have you done that with anyone? Has the Lord broken through to you?

    I have been very critical of others many times. There are several examples recently though where I have heard my thoughts—and the Lord has brought almost an identical instance to mind when I was in the wrong. It’s interesting, because I’ve begun to see ones who’ve offended me differently lately. I can’t explain it—but a few different people I’m thinking of right now, who have hurt me, who in the past I had a spew of critical thoughts about—I see them more like me now in my mind. I guess it’s that I see myself more and more as an imperfect, weak but trusting, child in His arms—and maybe they are too. Maybe when they have said and done the things they have, maybe it was from their own weak and hurting place, their wounds that still need His care. A simple example, I have a friend who will do something nice for you and then continually remind me of it—wanting repeated appreciation. It used to irk me. But this last time, I prayed for them instead—to be broken of the approval idol I know so well myself.
    Not as simple, I’ve also had a few very difficult instances recently where at first it seemed “fair” to retaliate with my defense. But I held back. I let Him speak grace through me. I don’t know the outcome, but I know I did not inflict more pain in response to darts thrown at me—and I have SO much more peace than I would have otherwise.

    9. How does Keller (as only Keller can do) have Judah point to the “ultimate” Judah?

    Jesus, the ultimate Judah, is the opposite of this Judah. This Judah was punishing Tamar for his own sin—the ultimate Judah, Jesus, punishes Himself for OUR sin. So He can look at us, with all our sin, and call us righteous. The story of Judah and Tamar points to the Gospel. Go after justice like Tamar, go through self-discovery like Judah, and experience His grace.

      1. I just had another example of question 8 today–I was rushing to the store before getting kids early from school (we had a 1/2 day called last minute for weather!) and I had 2 items. I went to the self checkout lane and all 4 were being used, all by people with carts-full (or at least well over 10…) I had that thought of “that is so unfair of them…” and then remembered a few times I’ve been in a rush and done the same thing. I thanked God for reminded me and asked forgiveness. It makes me realize what a blessing it is when He gently nudges me like that, challenging my thoughts–it’s His gracious gift of untwisting me from becoming a wreath! 😉

  16. How I wish we could all be in the same room. How I would love to to sit and listen to so many of you talk. Dee, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Susan, Chris, Laura, Becca, and I could go on! Thankfully I do have my mom. 🙂 But how I wish I could meet so many of you. You have so much wisdom, and such a deep relationship with God! Thank you for blessing me. I truly love this blog and reading what all of you have to say. 🙂

    Krista

    1. I wish we could too, Krista!

    2. Krista, We love having you here sister! 🙂

    3. Although it would be wonderful I think if we were all in the same room at the same time so much less would be accomplished. I am taking college courses and have learned much more in the online discussion boards because the opportunity for expression is greater. I am much more open and honest here then i have ever been in a live study group! Krista my heart does ache to talk with you more because of the pain you are in right now, having been there and also the other circumstances you allude too- I want so much to help you avoid many mistakes I made. I pray for you and you can picture all of us encircling you across the country in prayer, Are hands are held tight (with the Holy spirit filling any gaps) as we pray a hedge of protection to surround you!

      1. Becca, your words truly blessed my heart. Brought me to tears, grateful tears. 🙂 Thank you.

  17. 3. Meditate on Hebrews 12:14-15

    A. What command are we given?
    Make an effort to be at peace with everyone, to be Holy, not fall short of the Grace of God, and not let a root of bitterness spring up.

    B. What warning? (Find warnings within the warning!)
    Without Holiness, no one will see the Lord. When we don’t extend Grace to someone and allow a root of bitterness to grow inside then we will be causing trouble and defiling many.

  18. 4. Review Genesis 38:24-26

    A. How did Judah respond in verse 26?
    This says a lot about Judah and about GOD and Him moving in and knowing hearts!! In an instant he went from a wicked curvature of a bitter root inside toward Tamar saying ‘take-burn’-to humbling himself-calling out his sin and holding her up as righteous..That is a pretty quick pulling of a root that is huge and has been festering for years. Judah could have said, “that is not my staff, my cord-I don’t recognized it” and denied, denied..We do that even when it is obvious we are guilty.

    B. This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement?

    oops..Maybe I answered above..but I think my application is when God reveals the dark waters of my heart-Psalm 139..”search my heart God and see if there is any offensive way in me..” I need to respond as Judah did-Okay God you are right I am wrong-Help me as I turn and trust you.

    C. What change do you see in Judah that indicated the untwisting of his soul? (Look carefully and give phrases.)

    When he says she is more righteous than I-before he thought he was more righteous than she-that she had the problem and that is why his sons died. When God wakes him up with Tamar asking him “Haker na”-his soul untwisted pretty fast it seems. He went from bitterness-take, burn to stepping in her shoes and feeling her pain to have been abandoned without a husband and at the same time admits his sin-when he says, “since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah. And he did not sleep with her again”.

    This convicts me and makes me want to have a heart like Judah-that when God opens my eyes to an offensive way in me-or a root of bitterness growing that I would humble myself and agree with God and turn QUICKLY. That I wouldn’t say, that isn’t my staff and cord!

      1. It is great to be back! 🙂

  19. “Good Morning, good morning, good morning – its time to rise and shine”! Woke up with that song in my head. I was woken up with it as a child and used to sing it to wake up my children! At my age it has been many years since I have heard it and since my youngest is 22, It has been many years since I have sung it.
    Just thinking how it was not always the most pleasant sound to hear, especially on cold winter mornings (like today) when the darkness outside says’ stay cuddled up under those comfortable soft blankets’. This blog directed by Dee and filled in chorus by all of you ladies is so much like that song to me. I am being strongly prompted to pull back those cozy comfortable blankets (idols) I cling to and being asked to shine! So today I rise and I shine and give God all glory for his goodness!

    1. Yes..so love having you here and your encouragement and insight blesses me so! 🙂

    2. I know just how you feel, Becca. I love your analogy. Some days it is hard to crawl out from under our warm blankets (idols) and turn our face to God and the light. The frigid cold of facing our faults and sins is not fun or inviting, but the Sun (Son) will come.

  20. For some reason I can’t get the fast turn in Judah out of my mind..I think God jolted him yes, but he could have gone any way with it-he could have said that Tamar stole his things and is lying..I think God had a lot to do with Judah’s heart changing..I think God gave Judah a tender heart to begin with and over his life over time Judah let seeds of bitterness set in..I think God pursued Judah and allowed all of this-God knew what it would take to open his eyes-for him to make that turn. Judah reminds me of Peter. Peter had major issues-even denied Jesus but God is faithful-had His Hand on Peter’s heart and continued making him Holy-transforming him over time. This sure does give this ragamuffin gal relief! So I rejoice- What Hope, what love and I know that even if I have a deep root that he exposes-and I am sure I do- it isn’t so big that He can’t rip it out by the roots- It is sweet that He is building this confidence in my often scared shaking self! 🙂

  21. Verse 26 from The Message:
    26 “Judah saw they were his. He said, “She’s in the right; I’m in the wrong– I wouldn’t let her marry my son Shelah.” He never slept with her again.”

    This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement?

    “Judah saw they were his”
    He saw that the greater part in the sin was his. Tamar was not innocent, but Judah saw the weight of his own sin and was humbled.

    What change do you see in Judah that indicated the untwisting of his soul? (Look carefully and give phrases.)

    “She is more righteous than I”
    He was willing to bear the public disgrace of admitting that he was the one in the wrong.
    He stopped blaming and hating Tamar.
    I wonder how her treated her and her children thereafter, if he ‘bore fruit in keeping with repentance’. I suppose that in showing he never slept with her again could be an indication, that he didn’t continue to see her as an object.

  22. 4. Review Genesis 38:24-26

    A. How did Judah respond in verse 26? – Because Judah recognized the items Tamar brought out to show him he rescinded his first remark about having her burned and said that Tamar is more righteous than he was.

    B. This statement is both surprising and profound. What are some of the applications that you see in this statement? – He ended up seeing that he was wrong to be so judgmental and double minded about Tamar. He realized that him and his sons were the ones that were in the wrong. Tamar was getting what he should have given to her in the first place.

    C. What change do you see in Judah that indicated the untwisting of his soul? (Look carefully and give phrases.) – vs 24 Judah is very judgmental where he says “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” and then in vs 26 he turns completely around when he admits that he recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.

  23. 5. Read Genesis 44:16-34
    Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted — that he now has a heart of compassion. – All throughout these verses Judah is pleading with Joseph, like begging him to not take Benjamin from them that by taking him would kill his father. That he will put himself in the place of Benjamin, he would now do anything to spare his brother Benjamin and his father’s life. In these verses he is showing more love, compassion and concern for others over himself. He is willing to give up his own life now instead of taking the life of another.

  24. I have a prayer request, actually I have two.

    The first one is for my daughter Crystal, I think I have mentioned before that she works with YWAM in Kona and is working on setting up a school of dance studies at that base, the first school will start this summer. She has been struggling with a few things, including being busy helping other schools at the base. I have been feeling for a while that God has been trying to get her attention on something (not sure what) but that she has been too busy to take the time to hear clearly. She called me today distressed and depressed. She has decided to step back from helping the other schools, things are not going well and its now affecting her health. She wants to focus just on the school of dance (that she has been praying 4 years for) but she hasn’t been very successful in raising additional support so she is having a really hard time with basic things, like paying her phone bill. She is going back and forth emotionally about coming home or staying where she is. She feels called to the school of dance and ywam, but because of all this other stuff, she is struggling period. Because she gets called so much for various things in Kona, she really wouldn’t easily be able to step back for a few weeks and just spend time with God figuring things out. I suggested that she come home for a few weeks, where no one could bug her (I would have to pay for her flight home) and she could just spend that time quietly with God (and us). I will be talking with her again on Sunday to make that decision and I would pray that she is able to clearly hear what God wants her to do, with respect to both the few weeks home as well as whether she is on the path He wants her on.

    My second prayer request is actually for me. This week I have had difficulty with this bible study blog, I have been able to read all the posts, absorb some of the points, but when I try to read the questions and think for myself, it is like my brain is trying to work through a wall. It is like I am totally detached from the discussion and as a result, I stepped back to try to figure things out. I realized today that stepping back quietly was probably not a good thing to do and that I could be completely honest about what I was trying to get through with this group. I am not sure what is going on, why I am having such a hard time. Since joining the blog a few months ago, I have heard and learned a number of things and have come to appreciate each and everyone of you. You have helped me, even when you weren’t aware that your comments were impacting. This week however is for some reason very hard to even think through. The only thing that I can think of is that there is something the Lord wants me to see and the enemy is working overtime to try to prevent that.

    I would really truly appreciate your prayers for both myself and my daughter, especially over the next while. Thank you so much.

    1. God we just ask that you would give Crystal discernment and that you would come to her and break through anything that is hindering her from you-open her eyes yet bring her encouragement at the same time for you are the God of All Comfort. Help Mary-search her heart and help her to see what is blocking her this week, still the enemy and we trust you will only give him enough rope to hang himself. In Jesus name, amen.

      1. Yes, Lord, I agree in pray for Mary and her dear daughter Crystal–thank You that You are a God who pursues us, protects us, and hold us close–I pray that for Mary and Crystal today

        1. Amen to these good prayers, I am glad you told us whats on your heart rather than “quietly stepping back”, keep on keeping on Mary!

        2. Praying also Mary, for you and your daughter.

    2. Ladies, I wish to thank you so much for your prayers. This week there was alot I didn’t know, but one thing I did know, without doubt, that I could request prayer support from this group and that it would come. I also knew that there would be some who would pray for us, even without posting that they would (I do that, so I think others do as well). But I so honestly feel supported by a group of diverse women from all over North America, that I feel that God had really answered my prayers last fall for a group to connect with. God didn’t answer that prayer in a way that I was expecting, but then again, He rarely does. I still don’t have any answers and I will be talking to my daughter later today after I get home from Church, but I did want to thank you all so much for your support.

  25. 6. Why did Hosea 4:14 say that God would not punish the women caught in adultery? What does this tell you?

    God is a God of justice-Even though it is wrong and He doesn’t say it is right-he will mitigate their punishment because of His compassion for them for their men have heaped on them a great injustice, and oppression.

    7. Keller said that what Judah was saying was not that Tamar was innocent, but that he was more guilty. What thoughts
    do you have about this?

    That lines up with Hosea 4:14. My thoughts are that God didn’t design women to be treated like this by men-God isn’t like this-He hates oppression. Tamar knew her plan was the only way to bring justice to her life-she wasn’t desiring to be a prostitute-and I wonder if most women because of oppression by the men in their life felt they had to go into prostitution. I think Judah was twisted in his view of women and in how he treated them. Judah accused her of sinning-but she did in order to bring justice to her life, yet his sin was lying to her, oppressing her and going to prostitutes-I think his oppression and injustice toward her caused her to stumble so he is partially guilty for her sin as well.

  26. 8. Keller said that Judah needed to believe bad things about Tamar. He was continually “sticking pins” in her in his mind. Have you done that with anyone? Has the Lord broken through to you?

    I am going to think about this and come back to it. I can’t think of anyone right now but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done it.

    9. How does Keller (as only Keller can do) have Judah point to the “ultimate” Judah?

    Tamar got her life back when Judah says in spite of your sin you are righteous and she got her life back. Judah is pointing to the ultimate Judah-we need to hear the ultimate Judah look at us and say truly despite all your sins you are righteous. The real Jesus took the punishment for our sins-judah didn’t..that is why Jesus can look at us and say, “righteous.”… Jesus points to how Judah should have been.

  27. 10. What is your take-a-way and why?
    I’ve been thinking on this a few days, may come back with more—but for now, I love, love what this passage tells me about my God:
    His providence—His plan could not be thwarted by Judah’s scheme or the sins of his sons;
    His power to bring beauty from ashes, to straighten crooked paths, to use the least to fulfill His will;
    His grace exceeds so far beyond anything we can imagine
    His tenderness towards those mistreated;
    His justice and intolerance of disobedience;
    His unrelenting pursuit to break us free from sin and bring us back to Him. He claims me, carries me like a lost sheep over His shoulder, safely to Him.

  28. 5. Read Genesis 44:16-34

          Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted — that he now has a heart of compassion.

    “We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.”
    “as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31 as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die”
    “For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father,”

    This was the one that really struck me:
    “If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.”

    “33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”

  29. Susan, did you make it to that new bible study? I know a lot was canceled here because of the snow earlier this week.

    1. Yes, I did and I think it’s going to be good. We watched the first short video – I also found it on Youtube – it’s Pete Wilson Empty Promises DVD 1, and he talks about idolatry, and how often the catalyst to idolatry is having to wait. Our leader is a retired teacher – she’s very organized! We didn’t have the snow here on Tues., just the bitter cold. Our snow came yesterday…I’m hoping for some sled riding this weekend!

      1. I listened to a youtube interview with Pete Wilson on “Empty Promises”. I was very interesting. I am so glad you are in a face to face study group. I hope the Christian fellowship fellowship will be a real blessing from the Lord for you. You are such a special person.

      2. I am glad for you Susan, I hope the study will be a great experience.
        It has been snowing here all morning, I wish I felt like going sledding…I admire your ambition!

  30. A small side note.
    In reading this, Genesis 38:28 “As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, ‘This one came out first.’ 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, ‘So this is how you have broken out!’ And he was named Perez. 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.”, I couldn’t help but think OW! what a traumatic birth for Tamar to go through and with no pain meds. It’s a miracle that they were even born at all. Zerah would have to have been sideways to have his arm sticking out. It’s a wonder she lived through it.

  31. I have a prayer request. A major confrontation has occurred today between our son-in-law Jeff and my husband Aubrey. Aubrey confronted Jeff both by phone and by hand-delivered letter spelling out to Jeff what we have discovered about Krista’s legal rights regarding custody and access rights toward the boys (none of which Jeff has been abiding by). We fully expect a severe backlash from Jeff toward Krista, but we feel we could not stand by and allowing him to keep emotionally berating her and refusing her due and proper access. Please pray for Krista’s protection and for her courage to respond is a tough but godly manner to Jeff. Also pray that our “tough love” will bring about Jeff’s repentance and that God’s will be done in this situation. My husband is very “slow to anger” so this is a major, major step for him to take in defence of our daughter and I am scared but SO PROUD of him.

    1. Lord, I come before You now and ask that You work mightily in this family! Thank You Lord for Aubrey being bold in protecting his daughter. Lord, please protect Krista and the boys. I pray Father that Jeff’s heart would be broken–that this would finally break his stoney heart and draw him to repentance and bring about healing for he and Krista.I feel so many emotions I don’t even have words to pray–but please Lord, please rescue this situation and be glorified in it. I ask too that You would be a strong Comforter to Diane and Aubrey now–thank You Lord

      1. Amen..

    2. Read this in my email, have been praying too, I keep asking that Jeff will see his covenant role as a husband and father, and that his heart will soften towards Krista.
      Praying for wisdom and peace for all of you.

      1. Thank you. So far I haven’t talked to Jeff. Usually I do briefly when I call to talk to the boys in the evening, but he wasn’t home from work yet…which honestly I was thankful for. But I know I will have to talk to him soon.
        Really need to go to bed. I feel like I’m getting a cold, I hope it won’t be too bad!

    3. Diane, Prayed last night and will keep praying! This is so hard..

    4. Just seeing this now, Diane….oh…I think Aubrey did the right thing in speaking up for Krista. I will be praying along the lines of Elizabeth’s prayer.

    5. Dear Diane, I’m in prayer for the very things you ask. I feel a real heart tug for Krista and her boys and I’m so proud of your husband to stand up and speak his piece for Krista! After all those summer’s I cried watching my ex’s girlfriend drive away with my babies in her car…crying for me, to drive from NE to PA, I found out later from a very good lawyer that I would not of ever had to let my kids go with her at all. The exchange was to be made between my ex and myself,(meeting half way, which we did the last few years) as they were not even married. I didn’t know because I was ignorant and had a very low paid lawyer then. It’s when he tried to get custody of the kids a few years later, that I got a better lawyer and was told this. I agonished over it and blamed myself for years. So pay for a very good lawyer and get the best advise for everything and save her and the boys from heartbreak. It’s hard enough to go through divorce with kids, so never listen to Jeff…only her lawyer. I’m praying!

      1. Thanks for the warning, Joyce. We will try to be very careful about making sure we have a good lawyer.

    6. Thanks, everyone, for your prayers and concern. Pray for Krista as she sees the boys at church today as well as has to interact with Jeff and his family. So far she has had no outward reaction from Jeff, so we all sit on pins and needles waiting for the explosion, if it comes.

    7. Diane, I have been praying for Krista and you and Aubrey since I read this in my email a few days ago. I have been wondering for a while whether Krista had a lawyer. I haven’t said anything previous as I wasn’t sure what to say, however since I am also a Canadian, I do want to let you and Krista know that my understanding is that there is a Federal law that deems that in every divorce that the best interests of the children is joint custody, unless there is a compelling reason for that not to be. I happened to remember this part as I was divorced under the old federal laws and therefore ended up with sole custody. If my divorce was under the current law then my ex would have had joint custody and that would have actually worked out worse for my daughter, as he would have interfered in things like sending my daughter to a Christian School, taking her to Church etc. He is the type to control where possible, in my case I was grateful that he couldn’t control anything. If Jeff is playing games,then I strongly encourage Krista to get a lawyer, preferably the pit bull kind, to respond to Jeff’s seeming quest of parental alienation. Also I would suggest that you keep written notes of every encounter with Jeff. The written letter that Aubrey delivered to Jeff will most likely end up in front of a judge when that time comes. If you keep notes of every encounter, dates, times what was said by anyone in your family with anyone in his family, that can also be important in court. However it is important in your notes just to stick to the facts, no impressions or feelings etc, just what happened. Be honest, don’t gloss over anything, again just facts. This notebook will be very important if and when they end up in front of a judge. If your note book sticks to the facts and is seen by the judge as honest, then that could work in her favour.

      I cannot stress the keeping detailed notes on the facts enough. About a year ago I was a witness in a court case, it wasn’t family law, it was a situation that involved a former employer. Another company did something wrong and my former employer sued them. When I realized what the other company did (or in this case didn’t do), I spent time detailing all of the events, conversations, notes that had taken place between myself and the other company. That “note” ended up being about 5 pages typed detailing everything that I knew and could remember. The guy for the other company did not do the same thing and my 5 page memo was admitted as evidence when it finally went to court. Since I was in court as a witness 6 years after the events happened, my memo carried more weight than anyone’s memory, especially since the other company didn’t make any notes and was going on his memory.

      Good luck, I will continue to pray for you all since God can work in ways that no lawyer can. But I still recommend that you go and get a lawyer, not one that does many things, find one that specializes in family law, that is where you will find the one who will help Krista (and by extension the boys) the most.

      I also hope you don’t mind my suggestions, I think that it’s important to try to cooperate and live at peace as much as possible, however if Jeff is doing the opposite, a good lawyer will know what to do about it that will protect Krista and the boys.

      1. I appreciate your advice, Mary. I can’t go into details here but we have already had some advice from a lawyer and are in the process of seeking more. Again we have already been advised to keep notes on what is said between Jeff and Krista, but your more detailed suggestions are helpful. Also, seeking a lawyer who specializes in family law is a good one.

      2. Thank you so much Mary, I truly appreciate your thoughts!

        Krista

  32. 10. What is your take-a-way and why?

    That God even cares about the Oppressor and wants to untwist his soul and set him free. I keep going back to God hates oppression..yet he wants to set the oppressor free..He is the Lion and the Lamb. This is the Gospel.

    Do i REALLY care about the things God cares about-does my heart ache for the things he aches for? In this area of justice I am not sure-I so desire justice for the oppressed but i want a harsh justice for the unrepentant oppressor. Yet Jesus died for me in my sins-sure I haven’t enslaved people and oppressed them but is an oppressor’s sin any worse than mine? NO. Am I any better than an oppressor? NO. He gave his life while I was yet a sinner, while I was yet unrepentant.

  33. 5. Read Genesis 44:16-34

    Find phrases that show that Judah’s soul has been untwisted – that he now has a heart of compassion.

    V16 – “What can we say…how can we justify ourselves…God has found out our iniquity…we are all your slaves” – this shows Judah’s repentant heart. He is past making excuses, he is not rationalizing sin. He says, in effect, we are all in this together – we’re not leaving Benjamin here, we will all stay.

    The next several verses show Judah explaining about their father, and how if he were to lose Benjamin, it would bring him down to the grave in sorrow. Judah didn’t care about Jacob’s grief when they lied about Joseph being dead, but now he is showing compassion for his father.

    V33 – “Please let me remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord…” – Judah offers himself in the place of Benjamin.

  34. Heading into the battlefield… Will be seeing my ‘difficult relationship” person and praying for peace and joy. Really fighting right now to not allow the bitterness to well up and i am physically and mentally exhausted already!

    1. Praying for you, Becca. I know how you feel. God is our defender.

    2. Praying!

    3. Praying Becca

  35. Why did Hosea 4:14 say that God would not punish the women caught in adultery? What does this tell you?

    I feel it tells us that God is not simplistic in his understanding of human behavior. That when those who have power and responsibility are guilty of sin it affects others, God sees this, He has understanding, He wants those in leadership to go first in holiness.

    Keller said that what Judah was saying was not that Tamar was innocent, but that he was more guilty. What thoughts do you have about this?

    Judah had all the power and responsibility, Tamar was under his authority and dependant upon Judah to fulfill his duty toward her.
    Her pursuit of justice was more righteous than Judah’s withholding of it, though they both sinned, he had more power and greater responsibility.

    Keller said that Judah needed to believe bad things about Tamar. He was continually “sticking pins” in her in his mind. Have you done that with anyone? Has the Lord broken through to you?

    Ugh, I am trying to decide if I am guilty of this with my sister. It is hard to differentiate between healthy boundaries because of real misdeeds and an over doing the blame and fault finding.

    I am working on this and praying for discernment. She is a widow…I don’t want to ignore that.

  36. 10. What is your take-a-way and why?

     After listening to Keller, I think 5 times, I have learned so much! About sin, forgiveness, loving others, and being humble. Thank you Dee for sharing Tamar with me 🙂

  37. 6. Why did Hosea 4:14 say that God would not punish the women caught in adultery? What does this tell you?

    Keller said that this verse states plainly the sin of the women/daughter-in-laws – their sin of prostitution and adultery…God calls their sin what it is, He’s not saying it’s right; yet…God calls out the men – they are just as guilty – they are going to the prostitutes. The sin of injustice can overshadow the sins of the people. God is mitigating the women’s punishment because the men are more guilty than they are.
    This tells me that God is the only One qualified to truly judge sin and pronounce judgement.

    7. Keller said that what Judah was saying was not that Tamar was innocent, but that he was more guilty. What thoughts do you have about this?

    Keller called this Judah’s spiritual awakening; when the people you used to despise-you recognize you’re no better than they are, and maybe worse. I feel this must have been a truly humbling moment for Judah.
    I’ve seen this in my own marriage – what my husband says or does may be sinful, but my reaction-unforgiveness, bitterness, is just as wicked and God sees it as sin.

    8. Keller said that Judah needed to believe bad things about Tamar. He was continually “sticking pins” in her in his mind. Have you done that with anyone? Has the Lord broken through to you?

    Keller said Judah needed to justify himself in his own mind, so he needed to hate Tamar and blame her for everything-that was so much easier than admitting there was a problem with his sons, or with his parenting. Yes, I’ve “stuck pins” in people in my mind.
    When I read this question, it brought the image of a voodoo doll-sticking pins in the doll was supposed to cause real physical ills to the person it represented. We may not lift a finger against another, or open our mouths, but our thoughts can reach that kind of hateful intensity – that’s why Jesus compared hatred to murder. We can murder another in our thoughts.
    This sermon helped me to understand the reason I “stick pins” – it’s more than silently complaining against them – it is to justify myself, cover-up my own sin.

    9. How does Keller (as only Keller can do) have Judah point to the “ultimate” Judah?

    Judah wanted to punish Tamar, but in the end, he gave her her life back because he covered over her sin. He said, in effect, in spite of your sin, you are more righteous than I.
    Jesus, the ultimate Judah, looks at us and says, in spite of your sin, you are righteous – He can do that because He takes our punishment upon Himself.

    I really liked this sermon! I always saw this chapter in Genesis as somewhat of an interruption in the story of Joseph, and I was anxious to get back to “what’s happening now with Joseph?” Now I see how this theme of “Haker Na” began with Joseph’s tunic dipped in blood, to Judah’s seal, cord, and staff, and finally to Joseph and his brothers finally recognizing him…I see now the change in Judah’s heart. I understand better how God feels about injustice and oppression, how Tamar was a victim of that.

    1. Susan, your humble estimate of your own twisted thoughts is very convicting here. You live every day with injustice, yet you humbly turn to the Light. I need to do this too, constantly asking forgiveness instead of “sticking pins” on those who wrong me. Your spirit is so beautiful.

  38. 10. What is your take-away and why?

    There seemed to be a theme running through lots of the posts this week – ladies sharing honestly about how they have been hurt, and how, by God’s help, they have forgiven. This has helped me to “see” forgiveness in action – not just reading about it and knowing I’m supposed to, but to see it modeled and lived-out.
    I think it a helpful and stern image to take with me about how bitterness and hatred will twist my soul, and how Judah was twisted with hatred for his brother and Tamar.
    My prayer will be for the grace of God to be shown to me, as it was to Judah – to untwist, to help me see and recognize my own sin, to turn toward the light.

  39. I’m back and we are all better. I’ve been so tired tho. I pray no one else gets this awful flu!

  40. Dear ladies, Thank you for the prayer support yesterday. Overall it went ok, will share more later. One neat “God” thing was the You version “verse of the day” was John 15:12-13 This is my command; love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love…

    Anyway I woke up with Krista and her family on my heart. (Yesterday I was facing my husband’s former spouse.)I was reminded how divorce is so destructive to all. I want to commit to praying more intensely for Jeff to experience true mercy and forgiveness from God so he may extend it to Krista. I was thinking of this verse in exodus and how we must help Krista hold her hands up to God for victory in this battle. I was hoping some of you may commit to one day a week to storm heaven with prayers for this situation for the next month. I know my family has done this type of prayer chain on other occasions and it is powerful. So if anyone is interested just post what day you want to intensely pray for Krista and Jeff and I will take whatever day(s) are left. And we can always double up too. I just really feel that God is a God of impossible. And Krista please don’t signup for a day because this is us holding you up darling girl.

    Exodus 17:12
    When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

    1. Oh, Becca. I am overwhelmed. This idea of concentrated prayer for Krista and Jeff just touches my heart so deeply. Our arms are tired and we really need others to help hold them up. I am in tears.

    2. Becca…thank you. I’m in tears as well. Having a hard day, just something else personal I’m going through with someone who used to be a very dear friend.
      Anyway, this would mean sooo much! Jeff acted “fine” around me today. Honestly I’m wondering if he even got the letter Dad wrote him, yet. Though I did notice that his mother made sure I had time with the boys at her place this afternoon. I was very grateful for that!
      God bless you, truly!

      Krista

  41. 6. Why did Hosea 4:14 say that God would not punish the women caught in adultery? What does this tell you?
    The culture overlooked the male participation in adulterous acts…women were viewed as “the sinner” while men got off without much of a second thought. God is interested in justice…He abhors hypocrisy…He has a heart for truth and mercy.

    7. Keller said that what Judah was saying was not that Tamar was innocent, but that he was more guilty. What thoughts do you have about this?
    I loved this clarification…it helped me to view events in my own life in different, more clarifying terms. Tamar was not without fault…the deception she employed in entrapping of Judah sexually was wrong, BUT what predicated Tamar’s actions was Judah’s inaction and false promise of arranging marriage of Tamar to Shelah. Judah’s deception was more sinful and overshadowed Tamar’s sin, but both were guilty of sinning in this circumstance.

    8. Keller said that Judah needed to believe bad things about Tamar. He was continually “sticking pins” in her in his mind. Have you done that with anyone? Has the Lord broken through to you?
    yes and yes…

    9. How does Keller (as only Keller can do) have Judah point to the “ultimate” Judah?
    A sinful Judah is willing to sacrifice his life to slavery in exchange for the freedom of his brother, Benjamin…a sinless Jesus willingly sacrificed His life to free us from our sin and its consequence, death.

    Becca, I would very much like to participate in a concerted prayer effort for Krista and Jeff. Let me ponder what day might work best for me to be my “focused prayer day”…what a tender heart you have, Becca.