Tamar and Judah: “She is More Righteous Than I”

This Advent we are looking at the women named

in the genealogy of Christ.

If you are thinking, “How boring!”

Think again.

There are fascinating treasures here for you.

My prayer is that you will experience the depth of God’s

love for you, despite the fact you fail Him every day.

The first woman mentioned is Tamar,

a woman who used sexual entrapment to get what she wanted.

These are fascinating chapters that have already impacted me,

and caused me experience His holiness and His love.

I can’t wait to do it with you.

Sunday (1st in Advent)

We have been called, as were God’s people of old, to carry His light, to bring justice and mercy to our world. And yet we are so sinful. Can we still expect God to love us, forgive us, and use us? Yes. That is one of the truths that keeps repeating in the women of the genealogy of our Savior. We are broken vessels, but through the cracks shines the light of Christ.

 

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

2. Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember?

3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now?

4. Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days.

Monday: Background To Help Us Understand This Shocking Story

When a new pastor comes to a church, his first sermon often shows the congregation what is most important to him, and what he longs to have be important to them as well. With that in mind, let’s consider the first sermon of Jesus.

5. Read Luke 4:14-21

A. What scroll did Jesus unroll? Find find 5 things this prophet said the Messiah would do. B. Challenge question: Jesus stopped in the middle of a sentence. Find out the rest of the sentence from Isaiah 61. Why do you think Jesus stopped?

C. From this passage, what do you think is very important to Jesus?

6. This cry for justice is the cry of every prophet. Perhaps the best known is this one. Reflect on it and share your thoughts.

 

7. Our merciful God was always looking out for the widow. In biblical days women could not own property and were often reduced to begging or prostitution to survive. What provision did God make for them in Deut. 25:5? In addition to caring for the widow, how did this provision bless the family of their deceased man?

8.We’re going to look at Judah in depth tomorrow, but I find it fascinating that though he failed miserably, I see light often shining out from his broken vessel. Find one instance in Genesis 37:12-27 and find both brokenness and light.

 

Tuesday: The Shocking Story 

If you were with us last week as we prepared for this Advent study, you know we looked at Leah, who gave birth to Judah. Judah failed miserably yet he owned his failure and repented. He has a most honorable place in the genealogy, as you can see from the above.

9. Read Genesis 38:1-11

A. Why do you think, looking at Genesis 37, that Judah might have wanted to leave his family?

B. What failure of Judah can you see in verse 2? (See also Gen. 28:1-9) 

    C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think?

    D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar?

    E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise?

    F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself?

    G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality?

His staff and seal

10. Read Genesis 38:12-30

    A. What do you learn about Judah in verse 12?

    B. What did Tamar apparently know about Judah’s habits?

    C. What was Tamar’s scheme? What do you think motivated her?

    D. What was Judah’s response upon hearing of Tamar’s pregnancy? What does this tell you about

his heart?

E. How do you see repentance in Judah?

Wednesday: She is More Righteous Than I

I often hear it said by believers that all sins are the same in God’s eyes. If they mean by that that all sins deserve death, they are right, but if they mean that no sin is more grievous than another, that is not true.

11. What do you learn about the weight of sins from the following?

A. What does Moses say in Exodus 32:30-32? What do you learn from this?

B. What does Jesus say in John 19:11?

12. Read the following and comment: 

https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/966-are-some-sins-greater-than-others 

13. Why do you think Judah perceives that his sin was more grievous than his daughter-in-law’s sin?14. Isaiah rebukes God’s people for giving the appearance of righteousness through rituals, but neglecting justice. Read Isaiah 58 and share anything that quickens you.

15. How could you more consistently do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?

16. What do you see in Judah in Genesis 44:18-34? Comments?

17. In what areas of your life is repentance apparent?

 

The point in seeing that not all sin carries the same weight in God’s eyes is not to minimize any sin (God actually points out the great destructiveness of sexual sin) but to realize we may have minimized the sins that so grieve the heart of God. There is SO MUCH about caring for the poor and the vulnerable in Scripture.

Thursday-Friday: Tim Keller Sermon

18. Listen to the following and share your notes and comments.

      Tamar

Saturday:

19. How has Tamar’s story impacted you and why?

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS (183) Post a New Comment ↓
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5. Read Luke 4:14-21
 
A. What scroll did Jesus unroll? Find 5 things this prophet said the Messiah would do. – It was the scroll of prophet Isaiah. Five things that is said the Messiah would do were…preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recover the sight of the blind, release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
B. Challenge question: Jesus stopped in the middle of a sentence. Find out the rest of the sentence from Isaiah 61. Why do you think Jesus stopped? – I see in Isaiah 61 that the whole sentence was…to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.
 
C. From this passage, what do you think is very important to Jesus? – I see that he is telling them everything GOOD the Lord will do. He wants them to see God’s love for everyone.
6. This cry for justice is the cry of every prophet. Perhaps the best known is this one. Reflect on it and share your thoughts. – Micah 6.8 says “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” To walk humbly with God, to me means that I have to know in my heart that I cannot do anything without God knowing my thoughts. So if he finds peace with me and give me mercy than for me to love mercy will be for me to show the same kindness to others. And to act justly I need to be fair and open minded, just like God is with me.

 

 

 

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7. Our merciful God was always looking out for the widow. In biblical days women could not own property and were often reduced to begging or prostitution to survive. What provision did God make for them in Deut. 25:5? In addition to caring for the widow, how did this provision bless the family of their deceased man? – The brother of the deceased man was to marry the widow and fulfill his duty so the woman could bare a son and the name of the deceased man would carry on and the land of the deceased man would be able to stay within the family.

8.We’re going to look at Judah in depth tomorrow, but I find it fascinating that though he failed miserably, I see light often shining out from his broken vessel. Find one instance in Genesis 37:12-27 and find both brokenness and light. – The brokenness is that he still was ok with selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites but he didn’t want him killed because he was still their brother, their own flesh and blood.

 

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9. Read Genesis 38:1-11
 
A. Why do you think, looking at Genesis 37, that Judah might have wanted to leave his family? – The side note in my bible says that he may have left because he couldn’t handle seeing his father grieving over Joseph or because they used the word ‘left’ that he may have had a falling out with his brothers.
 
B. What failure of Judah can you see in verse 2? (See also Gen. 28:1-9) – that he married outside of his tribe which was thought to bring down Israel’s faithfulness
 
    C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think? – The Lord put them to death as he knew they were wicked. I think he did this so he could stop the wickedness from continuing. 
 
    D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar? – That she could live in her fathers house until his son Shelah had grown up.
 
    E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise? – That Shelah would also be put to death by God.
 
    F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself? – Is it because his sons had all been put to death by God because of their wickedness and Shelah was the only son that hadn’t been with her? 
 
    G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality? – They don’t want to admit they have done wrong so they point the finger at the true victim in the situation. They will find an excuse as to why they were justified in doing the thing that they did that was truly wrong and their fault. 
 

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10. Read Genesis 38:12-30

 

A. What do you learn about Judah in verse 12?

Judah’s wife died and he grieved for her, then went with his friend Hirah the Adullamite to Timnah, where his sheep were being sheared.

B. What did Tamar apparently know about Judah’s habits?

Judah may have had a habit of sleeping with prostitutes when he traveled; and he passed by Enaim on the way to Timnah.

C. What was Tamar’s scheme? What do you think motivated her?

To disguise herself as a prostitute, catch the attention of Judah in hopes that he would sleep with her and get her pregnant. Her motivation was that his son, Shelah, had grown up and Judah didn’t keep his promise to marry them, to carry on the family line.

D. What was Judah’s response upon hearing of Tamar’s pregnancy? What does this tell you about his heart?

He was going to have her burned to death. His heart was very hard towards her; he wasn’t even going to ask her for her side of the story. He just wanted to punish her. He seemed to always blame Tamar, never himself.

E. How do you see repentance in Judah?

When confronted with her message that she was pregnant by the man who owned this seal, cord, and staff – and recognizing that they belonged to him, he stopped. He said that she is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah. He finally accepted responsibility for the situation.

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11. What do you learn about the weight of sins from the following?

A. What does Moses say in Exodus 32:30-32? What do you learn from this?

Moses says that the people have committed a great sin. It is the sin of making gods for themselves-the golden calf. Idolatry. Twice, Moses says what a great sin this is, yet, Moses goes to the Lord and asks Him to forgive the people. Idolatry, worship of other gods, is a serious sin, yet it is not an unforgiveable sin.

B. What does Jesus say in John 19:11?

Jesus is referring to Judas here as “the one who handed Me over”, and that Judas is guilty of a greater sin than Pilate.

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12. Read the following and comment: I believed that Jesus was referring to Judas in John 19:11, as the one who handed Him over, but this article explains that it is the high priest Caiaphas who handed Jesus over to the Romans that is being talked about here. The priest’s sin was greater because he knew the Scriptures and his was an act of calculated rebellion. Pilate’s sin was committed out of weakness and fear-still sin but with less weight than the other. Sins that are greater will receive greater punishment.

 

13. Why do you think that Judah perceives that his sin was more grievous than his daughter-in-law’s sin?

Because his sin of failing to do the right thing and allowing Tamar to marry his son, Shelah, caused Tamar to sin. Had he kept his promise, she wouldn’t have been driven to do what she did. It’s not said in the text, but one wonders if she had ever asked Judah about the situation…if he kept putting her off?

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11. What do you learn about the weight of sins from the following? 
A. What does Moses say in Exodus 32:30-32? What do you learn from this? 
 

Moses tells God that his people have committed a “great sin” in that they made a golden calf as an idol. He was willing to give himself as the sacrifice because of their transgression.

 
B. What does Jesus say in John 19:11?
 
He says the one who delivered Him to Pilate had committed a worse sin.
 
12. Read the following and comment: 
 

The author confirms using scripture that there are sins that are worse than others.some of the wind seem innocent (a sin of weakness) and others seem much greater (mocking Christianity). Pilate’s sin was for political gain whereas Caiaphas’ sin was calculated rebellion.

 

13. Why do you think Judah perceives that his sin was more grievous than his daughter-in-law’s sin?

 

His daughter in law law was desperate to be cared for whereas his sin was one of morality; he shouldn’t have been messing around!

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Bing — when God revealed my sin of manipulation to me, I realized how easy it was for me to blame other people for my sin. I may be wrong, but I think Judah blamed Tamar for his evil sons’ deaths, unwilling to blame his sons. I think she truly was a victim, though I am not condoning what she did. I could be wrong, though!

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10 A. Judah is a shepherd.

B. It seems that she knew he would be drawn to a prostitute.

C. Tamar’s plan was to seduce Judah: she dressed as a prostitute and waited for him as he came to shear his sheep. She was displeased that she was not given the 3rd son to be her husband and perhaps longed for an offspring as promised in the law by her husbands’ brother.

D. Judah’s response, Let her be burned to death…It shows wickedness in his heart.

11. A. From Moses we learn that sin is awful and requires a great price, and Moses was willing to become a sacrifice.

B. Jesus says, You would have no power over me if it had not been granted to you from above.

The weight of sins- I have not read as yet.

13. Judah disobeyed the law (not giving his son to Tamar), he took advantage of a prostitute.

Then he wanted her burned to death before he realized it was he who was the one to impregnate her…

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5. Read Luke 4:14-21 A. What scroll did Jesus unroll? Find find 5 things this prophet said the Messiah would do. 

Proclaim good news to the poor.

Proclaim liberty to the captives

Give sight to the blind

Free the oppressed

Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

B. Challenge question: Jesus stopped in the middle of a sentence. Find out the rest of the sentence from Isaiah 61. Why do you think Jesus stopped?

Perhaps Jesus stopped before “and the day of vengeance of our God…” because His message was about freedom from bondage and He wanted them to hear that focus. But I’m going to keep pondering because I sense you’re looking for more…will you tell us? :)

C. From this passage, what do you think is very important to Jesus?

Freedom from bondage, finding true freedom in Him.

6. This cry for justice is the cry of every prophet. Perhaps the best known is this one. Reflect on it and share your thoughts.

Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly with Your God. Oh I long to live this way—every day. I can reflect just on today and see a million places I failed these 3 things. But I praise Him that this is our God, this is who He is, and I and His because of that truth.

 

    Reply

    To quote Keller, Lizzy: “He came to bear vengeance, not to  bring it.” But when He comes again, it will be different.

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Read Genesis 38:1-11.

A. Why do you think, looking at Genesis 37, that Judah might have wanted to leave his family? He probably lived in a somewhat Tumultuous family, constantly at odds with Joseph (37:4). He also probably struggled with not feeling accepted by his father especially in the face of Jacob’s mourning. The brothers’ sin may have caused them to all to get defensive and difficult. Judah may not have liked being reminded of Joseph and therefore his sin and so ran away from it. Hoping to find peace apart from the whole situation. I see hope for his heart in this.

B. What failure of Judah can you see in v 2?  He married a Caananite woman.

C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think? God “put him to death” because they were both “wicked in the sight of the LORD.” Their mother perhaps passed on her gods to them and their Father probably didn’t teach them about the true God (judging from what is recorded).

D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar? That she could marry his third son, Shelah.

E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise? That he would loose another son!

F. Challenge: why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself? He doesn’t appear to be listening to God or seeking God or talking to God so he was probably blind to his own sin, all of it. If he confronted his ‘fault’ in this situation it opens all the doors of choices he has made and could have been a vague weight that he avoided. It was also fairly cultural (still kind of is) to blame the “obvious.” And back then women were blamed for a lot – children with deformities, STDs, etc. so it may have come naturally to assign blame. Like most people today, he probably didn’t even think twice about it.

G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality? It may be taught to them. It may be unwitting ignorance of what is or what could be, it may be willful ignorance, not wanting to see or admit what is or what could be. It may be laziness. It may be a fear of rejection, responsibility, consequence. It may honestly be a mis-wiring of our brain in the depths of good enough = loved enough. I have come to see that many, many people will truly believe to their depths that it is not their fault. I think this is a sneaky arrogance and misunderstanding of how God and His love works.

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    Thoughtful answers, Jill.

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Read Genesis 38:12-30

A. What do you learn about Judah in verse 12? He is a new widower and he still hangs out with his ‘non-Jew’ friends.

B. What did Tamar apparently know about Judah’s habits? There are so many different possible scenarios here. Was this a new habit because of he lost his wife? Who would know his habits better than a daughter-in-law? Was this something that she watched him to find out what his habits were? Or was this a long standing ritual? In any case there does not seem to be any shame or secrecy when he tries to pay her AND he approached her not vice versa. Another random thought – she must have been pretty for him to approach her?

C. What was Tamar’s scheme? What do you think motivated her? I have always thought it unlikely that she would get pregnant after one encounter, was this a miracle, God’s intention? (It is in the genealogy so must have been?) I honestly think her motivation was survival, as a woman without a husband or son she would have eventually been destitute with no one to provide or protect her from a life of begging or prostitution.

D. What was Judah’s response upon hearing of Tamar’s pregnancy? What does this tell you about his heart? Judah’s response is to be rid of her. Likely he saw an opportunity. I don’t have time to look it up but I wonder if there was a ‘convienent’ Jewish law that he could site to justify her punishment? Or a Caananite law? It shows how truly lost he was, entrenched in selfishness.

E. How do you see repentance in Judah. I see a turn of heart in him just like in David when Nathan told him, “You are that man.” God suddenly opens his eyes to see what he has done, what he is doing, and the right thing to do. This holds true because when Jacob’s family moves to Eygypt, Judah’s sons Perez and Zerah are listed as going with, I hope Tamar was with them and learned of the true God (I assume she was Canannite.).

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I’ve been plugging away at the M-W lesson today.  (Thursday) and won’t post all of my thoughts as I’m so far behind but here’s some things that stood out to me in this study:

1.)  Leaders and those who have been enlightened by the scriptures are more accountable than those who are just learning or who have never had their hearts ‘taken in’ by the Word.  (‘to him who is given much, much is required’)  so when they sin in a position of spiritually authority over others,  their sin is greater.

One question I have about this is:  ‘Does a person who is raised in the church and in a Christian home – if they have never actually had their hearts completely given to the Lord – carry this same weight of responsibility?  Or are they in the same category as the ‘unenlightened’.  I see this every day…people who grew up in the church but live far from it’s teachings.  I can’t judge whether or not they ever truly knew the Lord though.

2.)  While I understand and appreciate the ‘greater sin’ from the article posted and from these good questions and study,   I pause at the verse in Ezekiel 16: 48-50 where Jerusalem is compared to Sodom.  Ezekiel says she is worse than Sodom  and that the sin of Sodom was being  ‘arrogant, overfed, unconcerned and did not help the poor and needy – they were haughty and did detestable things before me’  And therefore God did away with them.  And yet, God says Jerusalem’s sin is more detestable to him.  So, it definitely alludes to greater degrees of sin.

Now, I have not taken the time to read the entire context and why Jerusalem’s sin was the greater in this passage…(and I need to do that)  but my main question is why these particular verses from Ezekiel are so ignored by the church?  Or at least in my experience, they have been.  I was always taught that God destroyed Sodom (and Gomorrah) because of the sexual impropriety.  It seems to me, that this teaching has led church goers down through the ages to believe that sexual sins are ‘the ultimate’ sins…..(in my opinion anyway – I think that many churches have taught this – whether explicitly or implicitly)  But this passage speaks so clearly to the truth that ignoring the needs of the poor and being arrogant and unconcerned for them, is as great or greater a sin.

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    You raise interesting questions, Wanda. Concerning the person raised in a Christian home who doesn’t respond — I think Romans 2:12-16 implies that there is a greater judgment on those who have heard — but it is a mystery and we told to let God separate the wheat from the tares, so we leave it in His hands.

    Your last question is intriguing too — we know sexual purity is important, but it does seem like conservatives place it of greater importance than caring for the poor. It is a convicting passage, indeed!

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  G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality?

I was thinking about myself, when I descend  into self pity it is usually because I imagine that I deserve something better than my circumstances, someone owes me something or I am not being recognized for all my sacrifices.
Seriously icky stuff!

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    Thanks foe being willing to point out these circumstances as I think we are all guilty at times of feeling like we “deserve” better and it is indeed a slippery slope!

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7. Our merciful God was always looking out for the widow. In biblical days women could not own property and were often reduced to begging or prostitution to survive. What provision did God make for them in Deut. 25:5? In addition to caring for the widow, how did this provision bless the family of their deceased man?

The provision was that if a married man died, leaving a widow, and he had an unmarried brother—that brother was to marry the widow. It meant she, and any children, would be taken care of, and there would not be any division within the family.

OK, sorry but I watched a really sweet (non Hallmark type!) movie with a Jewish family where this happened but I can’t remember the name!

8.We’re going to look at Judah in depth tomorrow, but I find it fascinating that though he failed miserably, I see light often shining out from his broken vessel. Find one instance in Genesis 37:12-27 and find both brokenness and light.

A faint glimmer of light—he didn’t feel they should kill their own brother; yet he suggested they sell him instead.

 9. Read Genesis 38:1-11 A. Why do you think, looking at Genesis 37, that Judah might have wanted to leave his family?

I wonder if the guilt and shame of what he was a part of doing to his brother, and watching his father’s grief, led him to a path of wanting to live outside of his family and their customs…marrying a Canaanite, befriending Hirah.

B. What failure of Judah can you see in verse 2? (See also Gen. 28:1-9) 

He married a Canaanite.

C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think?

They died, because they did not honor the Lord and the Law.

D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar?

She could marry Shelah when he was old enough.

E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise?

He was afraid Tamar was the cause of his sons’ deaths.

F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself?

It was easier for him to blame her than look at his own sons’ defiance against the Lord, or his own.

G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality?

Pride. We think we deserve better. We fail to see how depraved we really are and that we deserve God’s wrath, and we only have value because of the Cross.

 

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    I googled the Hallmark movie — I think it must be Loving Leah? I’d love to see that!

    Good Lizzy answers.

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      Dee, yes–that’s the movie! good googling ;)

        Did I ever tell you about the new Christian in our Orchard Bible study who was googling to get the answers to the Bible study questions? At first we were astounded by his wisdom, but then some answers were really strange and he fessed up! :-)

         

        LOL! :)

        Loving Leah? Never heard of it but sounds like it would be a good one.

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15.  How could I consistently do justice, mercy, and humility? Everytime I dethrone myself and choose to do what God says is right. Particularly when it isn’t pleasing to me. I could almost make a rule of it. Do the good thing I am least inclined to do, and it will be the right thing.

 

16.  A true change of character, not just words. He no longer wants to delude his father the way he used to when he didn’t care how much heartache it caused. Now he cares about Jacob’s feelings. He is willing step up and bear the blame for all ten of them. He shows himself to be the leader his tribe will be. He is humble, not upset that someone else is winning or getting more than he does.

 

17.  Where is my repentance apparent?

a.  Sexually it is no longer all about me, but about my husband’s needs.

b.  When anger flares, there is usually a quick squashing of it, responding mostly with calm, realizing I can let it go.

I wish I could share my victory over gluttony, but I am still struggling there.

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    Those are great victories, Mary!

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9. Read Genesis 38:1-11
A. Why do you think, looking at Genesis 37, that Judah might have wanted to leave his family?
There was always favoritism toward Joseph which led to competition among the brothers and when Joseph was gone perhaps Judah still didn’t get the affirmation and love from his father like he wanted. I also get a sense that Judah was never content, self centered and wanted more.
B. What failure of Judah can you see in verse 2? (See also Gen. 28:1-9) 
He married a canaanite woman which is forbidden.
    C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think?
He killed them because they were wicked.
    D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar?
That when his younger son grows up he will give Tamar to him.
    E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise?
That he may die too.
    F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself?
This is a pattern in his life so I think he was blind to it. He has always operated this way so it is ingrained deep.
    G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality?
I am not sure! My guess is that they haven’t ever truly embraced God’s forgiveness, love and acceptance because of their pride. The reason is they become their own god attempting to find it elsewhere and never do. The opposite of humility is pride and I think that is why God loves a contrite spirit and hates pride. He wants us so.

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    Interesting thought Rebecca on victim mentality. I think you’d really like the book From Fear to Freedom on that. Though you do not have a victim mentality!

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      Dee, thanks for this book info. I think I tend to be the opposite which is sin also-or maybe it truly is victim mentality! my sin bend is to fester on mistakes I make instead of letting them go-while thinking that those whom it affects are festering on them too-when they aren’t. A good book title for me would be From Failure to Freedom. :) :) :)

        You do beat yourself up when you are truly so wonderful.

        It is a thinking pattern I didn’t know I had that is false-and it has so helped to get good counseling for she has helped me become more confident in who God has made me to be. :) It is enough to deal with satan’s lies let alone my own. I am ALWAYS a proponent of good counseling. I think we all need it for God often uses wise counselors to help us see outside ourselves. Without it we heap way to much unnecessary pain and grief on ourselves which can rob us of a more vibrant relationship with God and others. :) Just my opinion.

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Read Isaiah 58 and share anything that quickens you.

I started to write down what ‘quickened’ me and ended up paraphrasing (or copying verbatim) the entire chapter.

This is one of my most cherished portions of Isaiah’s prophecy.  It speaks volumes to every generation since it was received and written down.  The hearts of people have never changed.  We always want ‘credit’ for the good we do in this life. We (speaking to myself here) do wonderful deeds but want to make sure others notice.  OR we ‘pontificate’ from an ivory tower and do nothing of substance to honor God’s heart for the broken and oppressed.  SO……it is not just one of the clearest passages on what it means to walk with God, it is also one of the most convicting to me.

 

What truly stirs my heart this morning is that:

IF.…..we stand against injustice to do away with oppression, do away with pointing fingers and malicious talk and spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry, the poor and the oppressed…

THEN…..our LIGHT will rise in the darkness!   THEN our light will become like the noon day.  And the Lord will always guide us, satisfy and strengthen us.  And we will be like a well watered garden in a sun-scorched land.

These are deeply moving promises.  And deeply poetic and picturesque to think on.

I can see the perfect example of ‘light coming from a broken vessel’  in these promises!  I hadn’t made the connection before.  THANKS for including this chapter in this discussion, Dee.

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    Wanda — it was Greg Scharf who first illumined this to me!

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18.  Keller on Tamar.

Again, this is not a moral or inspirational story. But morals will never change you or save you. Rather, it is a matter of God breaking through to you, which is His grace. (Which is what Perez means, breaking through)

A. The breakthrough of Tamar. Every society has rules. In this time and place, it was for spouse/children to be included and respected. Tamar was really after justice from Judah. He owed her protection. When Judah says that his sin is worse than hers, he is admitting Justice is on her side.

B.  The breakthrough of Judah. He was disproportionately angry, overreacting. If he had succeeded in having her killed, he would either have to keep justifying it to himself or admit he was wrong and bear the guilt the rest of his life. Maybe that was why he was willing to admit his sin. With Joseph, he had already tried those choices and knew how heavy and non satisfying they were. We all want to see ourselves as good. She was asking Judah to recognize his things, but on a deeper level, but to discern. She is really asking him to recognize himself-the double standard, the lies, the injustice. Keller says that Judah’s breakthrough is a spiritual awakening, and that then is when he was born again.

C.  The breakthrough of promise. Tamar got her life back when Judah said she was more righteous. This points to Christ, the ultimate Judah, who looks at us and says we are now righteous through His blood. While Judah punished Tamar for his own sin, Jesus took our sin as His own punishment.

When you know that freedom, you can seek justice and freedom for others.

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14. Isaiah rebukes God’s people for giving the appearance of righteousness through rituals, but neglecting justice. Read Isaiah 58 and share anything that quickens you. 
 

Funny that he speaks of fasting here. He speaks of a sincerity to their fasting. They are to humble themselves, give to those who need food.

 

I decided to fast on Mondays to pray for my daughter. The first tine was last Monday. I did the fast and everytine I was hungry I said a prayer for her. Was it sincere? I think it was, but perhaps not. I wanted an “answer” from God instead of truly focusing on the well being of my daughter. I will do it again and this time not worry about what I want out of it, but what my daughter needs

 
15. How could you more consistently do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God? 
 

Well, as far as justice, I think I should leave the judging to God instead of taking it into my own hands.  Love mercy? Be more willing to accept those who need to be given a break.  Being willing to remember that we are all human and make stupid choices and decisions at times.

 
16. What do you see in Judah in Genesis 44:18-34? Comments?
 
I see Judah as being willing to sacrifice himself for his brother and father. He is a leader; perhaps he foreshadows Jesus, being that he is the line from which Jesus comes?
 
17. In what areas of your life is repentance apparent?
 

I suppose my relationship with my husband is one area of weakness; there is work to be done. Other areas are being less glutton-ness and judgmental.

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10. Read Genesis 38:12-30
    A. What do you learn about Judah in verse 12?
His wife died and after being comforted he went to sheer his sheep.
    B. What did Tamar apparently know about Judah’s habits?
Wow, I haven’t seen this before, that she must have known when he went to  sheer his sheep he stopped to find prostitutes.
    C. What was Tamar’s scheme? What do you think motivated her?
She was promised a husband so she could bear children and Judah didn’t keep his promise (out of fear) so she dressed herself as a prostitute hiding her face and went up to be the prostitute he finds when he gets there. She knew she had to take something personal to identify it was he who slept with her so when he promised her a goat she asked for his cord, signet and staff until he could get her the goat.
    D. What was Judah’s response upon hearing of Tamar’s pregnancy? What does this tell you about his heart?
He said to put her to death because she has been immoral. He was blind to his own immorality. I don’t like the way women were treated back then. :(   is always sweet to see how God raises them up in Scripture though.

E. How do you see repentance in Judah?

When she showed him the cord, signet and staff of the man who impregnated her he softened immediately for it was him, and said that she is more righteous than he. I think God used her scheme to awaken him to his sin.

 

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14. Isaiah rebukes God’s people for giving the appearance of righteousness through rituals, but neglecting justice. Read Isaiah 58 and share anything that quickens you.

 

The people were certainly busy doing “churchy things”…..to put it in modern terms, they were at church a lot, doing lots of Bible studies, fasting, rituals. It struck me that the Lord said that the kind of fasting He likes has nothing to do with abstaining from food, but His kind of fasting is to work for justice, to give food to the hungry and clothing to those who need it, to provide for your own family, and hospitality. All of this goes against what some today call “it’s just me and Jesus”. A lot of emphasis is placed on “my personal relationship with Jesus”, and some believe that’s all they need. I can fall into that trap, too. This is a very convicting passage. At this time, I do not volunteer in any way in my community to serve the poor and needy. I give money to support some of those organizations, like our local homeless shelter, but doesn’t God expect me to do more than just give money? With all the needs out there, where does one begin?

 

15. How could you more consistently do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?

 

I believe the first place this all begins is in my mind. Our secular world has so conditioned us/me to judge by the outward appearance: it’s all about how you look, where you live, what you have. I hate it that it can be so hard for me to see past the exterior and to really “see” the heart of a person. We have a Walmart not too far from where I live, and I know a few people who will drive further to a different one because at the closer store, they feel there’s a “different crowd” and that it’s a little unsafe. I go there; I’ve never felt unsafe….I try to look at it as people are people….there are moms just like me who want the best for their children. How do we make connections with those who are different from us when we live in neighborhoods where everybody is like us? And everybody is like us in our church, too.

 

16. What do you see in Judah in Genesis 44:18-34? Comments?

 

That he is truly repentant for what he did to his father concerning Joseph, the anguish and grief that he and his brothers caused Jacob. He is not willing that his father should experience this again, and offers himself in place of Benjamin, to remain there as Joseph’s slave. Judah is, in a way, a Christ-like figure, offering himself in place of his brother.

 

17. In what areas of your life is repentance apparent?

 

The Spirit convicts me when I am selfish and self-centered, and for wrong attitudes. I can get so fired-up and angry at someone when they don’t treat me as I believe I deserve to be treated, and mentally think, “I’m done!” But then, my heart will begin to soften again. But this is an on-going thing with me, and it’s hard. It seems that my battles are so much more battles in my mind – thoughts, attitudes, resentment and unforgiveness, than in outward behavior. I may never say anything, but inside I am brooding over the offense.

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18. The Keller sermon helped to further illuminate this story of Judah and Tamar. At the end of the sermon, Keller said the Hebrew word Tamar used when she asked if Judah recognized these things was “haker-na” (I’m not sure how to spell this) and it simply means to recognize. It is the same word Judah and his brothers asked Jacob when they showed him Joseph’s bloody robe. Recognize this? Perhaps it was at that moment that Judah’s words from the past came back to him and he recognized his own sin, and declared that Tamar was more righteous than he. Keller said it was interesting that he used the word “righteous” here. Tamar, even though she sinned too, in a way helped prevent Judah from going all the way down into the pit, as Keller said.

 

19. How has Tamar’s story impacted you and why?

 

I never really thought about it before, and Keller’s sermon helped me see this, but what Tamar did was really incredible. She refused to stay invisible, hidden away in her widow’s clothes in her father’s house. She took action. We are told in the sermon that she knew Judah’s ways all too well, and that is why she chose the plan that she did. And when Perez was born, it was a breakthrough. To me this says that I will not experience breakthrough in any area of my life unless I take some kind of action….not sinful action, but action. I have to take a step of faith. I noted Rebecca and Dee’s discussion above about counseling. I have felt for a long time that I could very much benefit from getting some but I haven’t taken the necessary steps. About a month ago, I heard on the Christian radio station about a Christian counseling place that when I looked it up, is only minutes from my home. I have a really big fear: though I long to be fully known, to be fully known scares me to death. I have seen this in myself lately, how I really don’t open up all the way to people. Some of this comes from past rejections in the area of friendship…I have been “dropped” in favor of someone else. It makes me think something must be wrong with me. I am not treated by my own husband as a cherished wife. Tamar could have just resigned herself to her lot in life; even though she came up with her own scheme, the Lord blessed her as she is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus, and women usually weren’t mentioned in genealogies.

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    That “hake-na” was so interesting!

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    Susan, I found the “haker-na” information from Keller’s sermon so interesting as well. I would encourage you to go to a good Christian counsellor, especially if there is one near to you. There are areas in which you seem to be unhappy that perhaps they could help you with. You have been through a lot and they might help you.

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    oh dear Susan–I got teary as I read your answer to 19. You just have SO much value, so much worth–you are a treasure to so many, and you are favored by Him. I echo Diane, and your own thoughts about seeing a counselor. I know it’s so hard to take that first step–but when you can find a really godly one, and pray for that too–I have been to many Christian counselors at various points in my life, but only have had 2 that I felt were really helpful. Sometimes just having someone validate the hard in your life can be the first step of moving out of the pit. I love you dear Susan and I am praying~

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    Susan, I so agree with Dianne. You are   so beautiful with so much depth, and a good counselor could help unlock some of those areas that are holding you back. I surely benefited from counseling.

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11. What do you learn about the weight of sins from the following?
A. What does Moses say in Exodus 32:30-32? What do you learn from this?
That the sin of worshipping other gods is a great sin.
B. What does Jesus say in John 19:11?
He is telling Pilate that there is a greater sin than Pilate’s power in putting Him to death or not-the one who handed him over. I am not sure who Jesus is referring to when he refers to the one who handed him over? I am thinking maybe all those who didn’t believe in Him for they were wanting him crucified.
12. Read the following and comment: 
https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/966-are-some-sins-greater-than-others
Great article-so Jesus is referring to Caiaphas as the one? That makes sense that the greater sin was Caiaphas who knew the Scriptures inside and out and should have known Jesus was Messiah but rejected Him. Then it goes on to explain the greater sin is the Christian who abandons the faith and goes back into the world. That is a presumptuous sin and not an unwitting sin (those who don’t know they are sinning or are unbelievers who don’t know Jesus). I like the example he gave of the Psalmist praying to keep him from presumptuous sin. THIS should be more of a fear of mine than anything that could happen to me!

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    i think it is Caiaphas — but not positive!

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This has been a wonderful study…I have been following along in doing all the questions and reading everyone’s responses in the background.

I was thinking of what caused people to develop a victim mentality.  I wonder if it’s because of how they were raised…in an environment of physical or verbal abuse, could never measure up or not loved.  Those are just to name a few.  I feel for people with this mentality because I feel there’s more to the story than we know.  I remember a friend my Mom had who definitely had a victim mentality and my Mom was the only person willing to be her friend and reach out to her.  Please know she did not enable her “woe is me” attitude but rather was quite honest with her.  But she could be as she had developed a friendship.

While I was reading Isaiah 58, what quickened me was how much like the book of James it was.  James 1:27 “This is pure and undefined religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 2:15-20; James 4:7. The theme of James, Faith without works is dead!

Please forgive me Lord for my cynical and selfish spirit.  Help me to see others through Your eyes and not be judgemental or think I’m any better.  Your word says in James 4:6 that You oppose the proud but give grace to the humble.  Give me strength to be just, love mercy and be humble.

 

 

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11. What do you learn about the weight of sins from the following?

A. What does Moses say in exodus 32:30-32? What do you learn from this? From what Moses says in these verses I learn that sin has punishment and consequence (being blotted from God’s book) and that there is atonement and forgiveness.

B. What does Jesus say in John 19:11? He says that there is a greater sin, there was someone who sinned “greater” (more, bigger) than Pilate’s sin.

12. Read the following and comment. I like the conclusion paragraph, I think it summed it up nicely. I have met people who take this responsibility so seriously, though, that they do nothing in ministry other than to study doctrine and decide what is right in all issues. But they have no life of service…. I didn’t like that and thought it somewhat devoid of love, much more fear. Appropriate caution and carefulness can quickly turn to fear and legalism when we focus on ourselves and not wanting consequences rather than striving to serve our Lord as well as we can, learning, seeking, growing, and repenting,

13. Why do you think Judah perceives that his sin was more grievous than his daughter-in-law’s sin? Because it was. I think he had a moment of clarity, just like King David, and saw his heart intentions for what they were.

14. Isaiah rebukes zgod’s people for giving the appearance of righteousness through rituals, but neglecting justice. Read Isaiah 58 and share anything that quickens you. v. 10 “if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desires of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness, and your gloom be as the noonday.” It goes on to say much the same – if you give of yourself then you will find what you truly seek (peace, strength, satisfaction, etc), but to hold tight and be selfish will only increase your gloom and sadness. It is only in giving up our selfish desires that we discover the true (right) desires of our heart and that God is ready to satisfy them.

15. How could you more consistently do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God? This verse comes to mind: Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

16. What do you see in Judah in Genesis 44:18-34? Comments? He values the life of those he loves. He is willing to give up his own freedom to secure the freedom of his brother *for his father’s sake*. I know there is nothing written about a change of heart but I do see that he is no longer threatened by others being loved. Jealousy is gone, even fear may be gone as he is willing to be a prisoner instead of suffer Benjamin to it.

17. In what areas of your life is repentance apparent. This is where I am supposed to do a life check and be encouraged by the great change of heart and behavior each year, but I do not see it. Instead I see a plateau with intensified storms of internal conflict (I know in general what I ought to do and yet cannot see clearly to know exactly what to do). I see a coward more and more burdened by wanting to DO something and yet being at a loss as to what to do, where to do it, when, and with/for whom. I do see the Holy Spirit pricking my heart more and earlier to repentance, perhaps growth, courage, and direction will come….I pray.

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18. Listen to the following and share your notes and comment. I need to listen again but I do remember that the language does not imply that Tamar is completely righteous, both Judah and Tamar are in the wrong, but Judah confesses he is more so.

19. How has Tamar’s story impacted you and why? The thing that has stood out to me has not been Tamar but Judah. His attitude and willingness to cast away people that ‘threaten’ his expectations for life, jealousy of his father’s affections, fear of loosing his sons…. I am constantly telling my sons that they cannot let their feelings be their god or to dictate their actions. This is what Judah did and I mirror him in my struggles.

 

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    As I read your description about Judah’s fear of losing another son, it dawned on me that this may have been connected to his role in how Jacob had “lost” Joseph! He may well have been afraid that God was punishing him in the same way he had sinned…

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Speaking of sermon notes…. does anybody know how Deanna is?

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19.  The impact of Tamar’s story. I need a breakthrough also. One that moves me from knowing my sin to being willing to give it up. Lord, You know all about it, much more than I do. I sense You watching and waiting, but I don’t know what for. I want to be changed. Maybe that’s the problem and what I need is to take action. I feel like I’ve tried that without success. But I suddenly remember Elijah on Mt Carmel, praying seven times for the rains to come. So Lord, I will try again with action and prayer. Please meet me in this with a breakthrough.

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Saturday:
19. How has Tamar’s story impacted you and why?
I am so behind but has been so touched by the story of Judah and Tamar. It has given me a glimpse into the complexities of human behavior and interactions when in dire or desperate situation. Of Judah, the years of living with guilt over his brother’s plight, his sons evil deeds and his own wantonness. It sounded almost like his life was snowballing-it took an incredibly unexpected act from Tamar to bring him to his senses and out of the pit of destruction into a breakthrough for his own soul. Of Tamar, oh what a life it must have been, to be left alone, widowed twice and abused by her father-in-law. In God’s sovereignty, Tamar and Judah, messed up lives in history, were very much a part of the lineage of our Savior.

Oh, Lord, I who has messed up my life in more ways than one, you came for me as well and gave me a part in your story. You desire for me to know my sins have been forgiven, and you have called me to shine your light through the broken vessel of my life. Help me to spend myself in behalf of the poor, the hungry and the oppressed. Lead me with your light. Thank you for the story of Tamar and Judah-a testament of your goodness and your calling not based on their works but by your election and mercy.

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Good summary Bing!

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How has the story of Tamar impacted me?

The story of Tamar has impacted me as I now have an understanding of this very unusual story. It always seemed such a mystery.The issue of the victim mentality is also much more complex.

I need to remember to follow up on applying these truths to my life: to love mercy, do justice and walk humbly with my God. My repentance is to think less of my own needs and to care for those in need.

 

 

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The sermon on Tamar was just what I needed to hear at this time in my life! I have been through a painful series of circumstances and it made me see in a new way that the Lord could be bringing about a way for break through to happen…and not just for those who I think “really need it”but that maybe that includes me as well! I need to continually bring my heart before the throne of grace and ask the Lord to give me eyes to recognize the truths about my own heart condition.

When Tim Keller pointed out Judah’s cruel response to the news of Tamar’s pregnancy it made me wonder if his son had learned well from his father the ways of cruelty.

I loved the explanation of the word for “recognize” and it’s use throughout the story ending up with Joseph’s use of the word to Judah when he confronted Judah with who he was. How slow we are to recognize not only our sins but our Savior.

May the scales fall from my eyes today Lord Jesus!

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