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

This stands out to me:
My prayer is that you will experience the depth of God’s
love for you, despite the fact you fail Him every day.”


I would like this too, for all of us here.

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2. Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember?
Tamar was probably not an Israelite, she posed as a prostitute to entrap her Father in Law.

 Rahab was a prostitute, but she knew of and trusted in God In finding the Israelite spies, it seems she feared God more than men.


 Ruth was a Moabite woman who put her faith in the God of Israel, she left her own country and culture to come with her Mother in Law to Bethlehem. I do love this story :)


Bathsheba was Uriah’s wife who became pregnant through adultery with King David. That baby dies but she later gives birth to Solomon.


Mary was honored and chosen, but what hardships she endured. Facing the scorn of being pregnant before she was married, the doubts of Joseph, I am going to guess that for a sinful human mother, having a sinless child with sinful siblings also held it challenges.
Mark 3:20 seems to indicate that she may have struggled to understand who Jesus really was. 
Often when I can’t make sense of earthly circumstances I think of Mary at the crucifixion, I doubt she could have imagined that THAT was God’s perfect plan.


3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now?
It is so hopeful, their stories were often really hard, they were all flawed but included, actually important to The Story, their mistakes and sin are swallowed up in mercy.
I feel weepy…I too am a screwed up recipient of grace.

    Reply

    Oh Chris — you make ME weepy!

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    Oh Chris ~  me too.   I feel weepy…I too am a screwed up recipient of grace.

    Reply

    Chris, you sure know how to get to the “heart” of the matter.

    Reply

    So glad to see you back Chris.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
“My prayer is that you will experience the depth of God’s love for you, despite the fact that you fail Him every day.” This is what I truly need now. Thank you.

2. Have you ever studied the women in the  genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember?
Yes, some. The biggest thing I remember is that none of them had “A team” resumes. They were all flawed and failed in some way …

3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now?
Reading this I realize that I still believe that the Fairy Tale is for everyone else. I see the beauty in His Light shining through others both then and now. But I do not see it in me. I only see a coward who fails Him time and time again. I see my persistent bonds to “good enough=loved enough.”

4. Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days.
In restlessness  Nothing is “enough” without the beauty of His Word, His presence. He is stirring my heart to hunger more after Him and not be so easily pleased:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis

    Reply

    So very good to have you here, Jill!

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    Jill ~   Oh how good to see you here for I have really missed your rich, authentic and humble insights.

    Your words here could be mine too:    I only see a coward who fails Him time and time again. I see my persistent bonds to “good enough=loved enough.   

    Needing this week of study.    Listened to this 2 minute podcast from John Piper early this morning that speaks to the beautiful truth that the Lord is the lover of the lowly.   The lowliness of Elizabeth and Mary.   And us.

    https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/solid-joys/

      Reply

      Thanks, Nila!

       

    Reply

    I love the C.S. Lewis quote, Jill.

    Reply

    Hi Jill!! I have wondered about you lately and here you are 😉. So glad you came back to us!

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Hi Dee,

I did your study on Idol Lies and loved it. I’m really looking forward to this study.

Im a wife, mother, grandmother,nursing faculty/administrator and I know God has something for me in this study as I approach Christmas!

Thanks,

Terrie

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    Splendid, Terrie – so glad to have you!

    Reply

    Welcome here Terrie, for it is surely a treasure to be with these women in this place.    Much encouragement here.

    Reply

    Welcome, Terrie! Looking forward to hearing your insights and heart.

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    1. What stands out to you from the above and why? – I’m so thankful that I can be used by God, even though I am far from being what I think I should be. That I can be broken by God to be right. Thank you God for not throwing me to the side but picking up my broken pieces and putting me together the way you know I should be.
    2. Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember? – I know I have not studied all of the women, but throughout the years I’ve been to studies for individual women. I just bought a magazine from the grocery store “Women of the Bible” and looking forward to finishing it. What I remember is that God had them placed right where he needed them at that particular time. 
    3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now? – I’m so thankful that my brokenness is not pushed aside. I need to be broken in order to be used in the right way by God. He has to get me to the place that I can be used by him. If I’m not mended back together as God needs me, than God’s plan will not play out correctly.
    4. Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days. – There is a Kids Alive International office in my town of Valparaiso IN and when I drive by I always think how cool it would be to work there. I have been in a funk lately and a friend of mine who works at Kids Alive told me about a position that is opening up in this office. I currently work 50 minutes or more away from home and I’m getting very tired and worn out with this drive and just want to be close to home. I took the leap and applied for this position and the minute I hit the submit button I felt a sense of peace come over me. I feel good about this position but I know that God will open the door or keep it closed if I’m not to be there. I sure hope he opens it.
     

      Reply

      Julie, that is exciting that you applied for this new office position…..I pray He will open that door for you!

        Thanks Susan. I appreciate the prayers.

    Reply

    Welcome to the group Terrie.

    Reply

    Welcome, Terrie! So glad you are here. I am also a nurse and a few others here.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
That someone would think that this topic is boring. I’m delighted to see a study of Christ’s birth from a totally different angle.

2. Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember?
I don’t think that I formally studied them, but I remember my shock the first time I read the stories of the different “loose women” that God chose to be in Jesus’ genealogy. I always assumed that everyone was pure and virtuous like Mary.

3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now?
That I just don’t know what God has in store for me or anyone else. We can be headed down the wrong path and from all appearances be living a wicked life, but He will use who He wants in the way He wants.

4. Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days.
I know that it seems as though I’m always referring to my job, but it truly is a place full of ongoing drama.
Most recently it pertained to something as trivial as the choice of coffee maker that we were to taking a collection to purchase for the department. The majority wanted a Keurig (so that people can bring in their own pods and the fighting over who bought coffee and filters last would end). It’s unbelievable how much animosity and conflict was caused by such a simple decision. In the end the people who don’t chip in on the coffee, yet still drink it are the same ones who didn’t chip in on the new coffee pot, but they are already asking who was going to say who can and can’t use it.
I am experiencing God with me in how He helped me avoid the drama and conflict (I was the one chosen to purchase and bring in the coffee pot so some people kept calling it “my” Keurig) I was praying for peace on my way to work the day that I brought it in asking that there be no snide comments and if there were that I could deal with it correctly (ignore it).  When someone who didn’t contribute said to me that maybe she’ll bring in some pods and give it a try, I offered her some of mine. She didn’t use them so I’m pretty sure she just wanted to see my reaction. I was glad to be able to see if I was truly letting go of the situation or if the feelings of  resentment would creep in. They didn’t :)

    Reply

    Oh my, Dawn — that is drama!

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    I remembered my shock at the “loose women” God used. Yes, Dawn, I agree with this truth also. Our expectations of the women is righteousness, as if they should deserve it.

    Yet I know I do not measure up in that category.

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    Oh my goodness Dawn, that is terrible and petty. I will be praying for your office that peace can be found.

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    Ugh, Dawn — I’ve been thinking this past week about how much I do NOT miss work drama.  I laughed when I read that you offered a coworker some K-cups :)   Curious what was going on in her head!

    Reply

    Oh Dawn, it must be so hard to keep yourself calm and peaceful amidst such drama, over a Keurig….you are shining a light in your workplace!

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why? That despite our brokenness and sinful natures, God Himself indwells us and uses us right where we are. 
2. Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember? I have read many of their stories and am always encouraged that in a culture where women were not valued that the writers of scripture were led to include them. I’ve also been struck by the fact that most of the women were not Jewish women but were “foreigners” or aliens…just like me!
3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now? This offers me much reassurance that even an alien, idol worshiper can be engraftment into His unfolding story! 
4. Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days. I have had an unexpected visit with a dear friend this weekend that has refreshed my soul! Also, I just finished a book offered me a small glimpse into some possible purposes God has in a painful time in my life.

    Reply

    Yes — we on the outside have been brought in! Hallelujah!

    Reply

    Lucy, hello there! Brought in as Dee said! Hallelujah!

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    Lucy, I was thinking about women not being valued in OT times — and in some Middle Eastern countries today.  I’m glad you brought up the point about them being included in Scripture.  It really is pretty amazing that women were the “heroes” of some of the stories — and that these Scriptures were studied in times/places when women weren’t valued.

      Reply

      Renee and I are closet feminists.

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How I have experienced Immanuel, God with you, in the last few days.

I had a responsibility to do a devotional for a small group of women yesterday. I worked very hard on it and found a topic that really touched my heart. I am uncomfortable doing an ad lib talk and depend on my notes. Well, in  preparing to leave I had other papers to bring and inadvertently forgot my notes. When I discovered it, I went to a quiet room and sat for a few minutes to ponder how to proceed. God brought to my memory the key points and a song to quote so I was able to do it without a panic. I believe I did remember the most important points yet it was challenging. God was with me and provided calmness.

I believe I needed this experience to show me that the Holy Spirit gives the message, I am only a broken vessel. But I want the light to shine through as the picture so vividly shows.

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    Shirley, so glad God was with you at that time. I would have hyperventilated I think.

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    Wow, Shirley! The Holy Spirit showed up big! He does that, doesn’t He? Despite ourselves.

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    Love this Shirley!

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    Great story, Shirley. I believe there were times I quenched the Spirit leaning too hard on my notes.

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    This is a great story, Shirley. I had to teach a lesson on the Passover in Junior church this Sunday. It was a lesson I had prepared several weeks ago, but did not have the opportunity to review ahead of time this weekend. I was a broken vessel indeed, but I pray God used His Word all the same.

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1.  What stood out…to experience the depth of God’s love, despite failing Him. This is the week I will start seeing a counselor about my weight. In Sunday School today, where the study is on change, they talked about heart idols, just like you, Dee. A quote from there….you didn’t behave your way into sin, and you can’t behave your way out of it. You worshipped your way it, and you will need to worship your way out.

Then, we’ve been called..to carry His light, bringing justice and mercy to our world. God is OK with us being cracked or flawed. But He desires for us to be clean, to walk in purity with Him. And that, I feel, is holding me back. As long as I persist in my idolatry I can’t be or do what He desires for me.

 

3.  Having these women be flawed and broken and not even necessarily clean, gives me hope. And curiosity to see their secrets.

 

4.  In the last few days, I think of His blessings and gifts, but I think you’re asking more than that. You’re asking how has He dwelt with me. Being able to share with another the songs He was bringing to my mind and seeing those songs impact her. He is the everlasting arms under me. He is the Word, speaking to me and encouraging me. He is my sure foundation and hope. Even while I live in a sinful place, He continues to reach out to me like a loving Father, asking me to take steps in His direction.

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    Hi Mary…I love the phrase “How He has dwelt with me” and it reminded me of Zephaniah 3:17 which says The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will rejoice over Thee with singing.

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What stood out to me was:
“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.”
What a privilege to be used by God as were His people of old! Inspite of my weakness &  brokenness He uses me. Amazing!

I have never done a study in depth on these women but I love their stories. It encourages me to know that God is more interested in my heart being open & available, than in my being perfect. I can more authentically share my compassion with others because I am broken!!

How has Immanuel been with me in the last few days? He gave me courage in the midst of my pain & turmoil, to change my flight to Aussie & leave Jan 2 instead of a month later. My mom is really going downhill fast & I need to get there & be with her & my dad. He opened all the doors & softened my husband’s response too.

I found Ann Voskamp’s book on Advent called “The Greatest Gift”. I am reading it thro December & it has such wonderful & rich insights!  :)

    Reply

    Jenny, I am reading Ann V.’s “The Greatest Gift”, too.

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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. 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?
A. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah. 1). Proclaim Good news to the poor; 2).proclaim freedom for the prisoners; 3). recovery of sight to the blind; 4). set the oppressed free; 5). proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

B. The rest of sentence is: “and the day of vengeance of our God”. I’m thinking He stopped because His focus in His ministry was healing & setting free. At His second coming He will be judge, but at His 1st coming He was bringing God’s favor & mercy.

 
C. From this passage, what do you think is very important to Jesus?
Ministering to the broken & needy; binding up, setting free, bringing the good news of the Kingdom.

 
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.
Oh how I love these words & the words that follow…”comfort to all who mourn” etc.. Such a great exchange of His gladness & mercy & beauty, for our ashes, our despair & our brokenness. This has lifted me & given me hope time & time again thro the years. That He gives me hope & joy & freedom, & that He plants me & uses me as His vessel. What a wonderful Lord!!

 

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What stands out?

“My prayer is that you will experience the depth of God’s love for you, despite the fact you fail Him every day.”

I come to Advent this year bone-tired and needing a break; instead I have to ramp it up for a  busy month of a thousand demands and expectations. Tonight I feel like a failure, defeated before I begin and just want to hide from it all.  I already tried to go to bed early and instead just lay there fretting about what has happened and is happening; and then worrying about all that lays ahead in the next weeks.

So, here I am. I am praying with Dee that God will meet me here on this blog and in His Word as He has so many times before. Sorry to be a bit of a downer tonight but I’m too tired to pretend all is fine. If God can love someone like Tamar, then perhaps he’ll take the broken me today.

    Reply

    so sorry to hear of your bone tired days, Diane.  praying for you tonight…

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    Diane-sorry to hear about you being bone-tired. I entered my comment before I cam upon yours. Perhaps, I am bone tired, too and it is the explanation to my being in a “funk”. I can’t explain it. Praying for you and for myself. Lord, be thou our vision.

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    Oh Diane! I too have felt like such a failure these days; in many aspects of my life….not just one. I sit shiva with you sweet friend, no words. I have decided to fast today to focus on one of the situations. Have you considered something like that?

      Reply

      Oh, Laura. Even though I have often not been able to follow along with the blog this Fall, you have been and continue in my prayers. May you be so aware that God still with you as you sit shiva and as you fast and pray about your situation.

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    Diane, praying that He will come to you and give you peace and rest in the midst of this busy month, and discernment about which of those demands and expectations you might be able to let go!

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    Being here also makes us aware of praying for you, dear Diane.

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    Thanks, ladies, for the prayers. I am aware that December is always a difficult month for many of us – we are keenly aware of the discrepancy between the “ideal” Christmas and our own “broken” Christmas. Nothing makes me so aware of the brokenness that sin has brought into our world than this! My own personal Christmas carol is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.

    I especially can relate today to the verse in that carol that says, “And in despair I bowed my head. There is no peace on earth, I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.” Keenly aware of “no peace” in my own family, and in my own heart as well. Yet, I know that in God there is Hope and one day the “wrong shall fail and the right prevail.” Praise God! May I continue to hold onto the Light and hold forth the Light until His Day comes.

    “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” lyrics

    (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)

    I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

    Their old familiar carols play,

    And wild and sweet the words repeat

    Of peace on earth, good will to men.

     

    I thought how, as the day had come,

    The belfries of all Christendom

    Had rolled along the unbroken song

    Of peace on earth, good will to men.

     

    And in despair I bowed my head:

    “There is no peace on earth,” I said,

    “For hate is strong and mocks the song

    Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

     

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

    “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;

    The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

    With peace on earth, good will to men.”

     

    Till, ringing singing, on its way,

    The world revolved from night to day,

    A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

    Of peace on earth, good will to men!

      Reply

      OH Diane….I love this carol, too!! A few years ago, Dee shared this on the blog with a link to a Youtube video in which several young people play I Heard the Bells with string instruments and it’s also a mini-drama of things that are trials in this world, but how they are overcome by good (I think it’s done by “Biancardi” or something like that if you google it.) Anyway, the first time I watched it, I sobbed all the way through it because the young man in it reminded me so much of my nephew who died. I watch it every Christmas season. It hadn’t crossed my mind yet, so thank you for reminding me! And yes, it can be hard to deal with the discrepancy between the “ideal” Christmas and the reality of our own “broken” one.

        Susan, I would love to listen to this! I did a quick search for this version of I Heard the Bells on youtube but could not find it. Any further suggestions?

        Diane, check this out! I love Ed Herrman. He has passed since this though 😔.

        https://youtu.be/sXfzp296zhA

        Susan, thank you so much for searching for this video for me. I went back to Dee’s blog in 2013 and found it. It’s great! I pray that you find the true Comfort and Hope in the midst of your broken Christmas!

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      Laura, thanks so much for posting the video of Ed Herrman about the background of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. I gave me chills and tears and thrills as well. Well told and musically wonderful!

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?    We are broken vessels – cracked – but the light can shine through us.   I really like this analogy.  Just when I think I’m somehow ‘worthy’ and doing everything ‘right’… I inevitably mess up and find myself pathetically cracked again.  It’s so restoring just to envision that Christ can shine through our failures and weaknesses.  Our Advent message today at church was about being vulnerable and admitting our weaknesses in a world where the culture screams that it is somehow more honorable to ‘go it alone’.  Anyway, two messages in one day about allowing God to shine through our weakness and brokenness.  Helps it sink in a little. 
2. Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember?    Can’t remember doing one exactly….have looked at some of the women in other ways.
3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now?  Gives hope.  Makes me less ‘smug’ in my own righteousness (which without Him is only ‘filthy rags’ anyway)
4. Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days.  A very deeply emotional way – because it involves another person, I’m not at liberty to say… but in a hopeless situation, the only words that brought me comfort at the time were specifically – ‘God with us’  ‘Immanuel’.   I have been reading Isaiah as is my practice every Advent.  Chapter 9 never, ever loses it’s hold.  People in ‘utter darkness’ and then…the promise of a new light dawning.  That is the hope I feel in this – the darkest month of the calendar year (in North America anyway).  I love the winter darkness for that reason.  It makes the light of a single star, a moonlit yard or a soft lamp feel even more compelling.  That little flicker in the last of the burning embers in the fireplace.  All of that light – potential to overcome the darkness.  I think of our world as feeling like ‘utter darkness’ so. many. days.   And yet, into that utter darkness, HE CAME.  Immanuel.  God with us.

ooops. first day back in a very, very long time. I meant to put the questions in bold and my answers in standard type. Oh well!

    Reply

    So good to see you, Wanda!

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1.   What stands out to you from the above and why?
“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.”
God became flesh and dwelt among us, went to the cross, so He can indwell us, cracked pots as we are. It is so like our Savior to use our “cracks” to shine His light to others.
2.   Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember?
Sarah did not believe. Rebekah deceived, Leah, unloved, Ruth, a foreigner, Bathsheba, a reluctant adulteress. All in circumstances that showed their flaws.
3.   You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now?
That He can use me, broken and flawed. That I do not need to feel victimized by my circumstances and can rise above them. And even if I have messed up, all I need to do is confess my sins and turn away from them and He will be faithful to make beauty out of the ashes of my life. That I can be a part of God’s story.
4.   Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days.
November was a hard month for me. Seemed like the enemy was bent on bringing me to a point of despondency. It was so unlike me to feel so down and I had difficulty understanding what was going on. Everyday brought new discouragement either at school or things not working at home. Things that used to not bother me bothered me. The tendencies to compare myself to others was overwhelming. Often, I have gone to bed tired and dreading the next day. I was going through the motion. Through it all, I sensed His nearness amidst my struggling. I don’t feel out of this funk yet but I am trusting Him to be by my side.
Any thoughts, dear friends?

    Reply

    Bing, I’m sorry to hear how difficult the month of November was for you! Is it the time of year? I often wonder….winter we are kept indoors much more, we leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark, we start to feel the mounting pressure of the holidays. The hope I see in your post is that through all of this, you have sensed His nearness. Praying you will get through this, Bing!

      Reply

      Susan, thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Not out of it yet but have been encouraged by Ann V.’s chapter on Rise in her book “The greatest gift” for December 4. God is my ark-He is holding me safe inside His keeping.

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1.  What stands out & why

“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.”

This stands out because I often think about all the professional opportunities I have — and I’m not very interested in the “best” opportunities.  And God keeps reminding me that He has called me to share His love.  I love this affirmation <3

2. Have you ever studied the women in the genealogy of Christ? If so, what do you remember?   Not as a group, but I have studied some of them individually and/or remember Bible stories about them.  Tamar was raped.  Rahab was a prostitute who let Joshua’s spies stay with her and she hid them.  And she tied a red cord in her window!  And I’ve studied Ruth.  

3. You already know that they were flawed and broken, yet God used them. What does this mean to you right now?  There’s hope that God can/will use me, too.  But I am glad I am living in this day and age so that I don’t have to have my story written in the Bible for the whole world to know!  I guess this also tells me that God used their stories even though they likely weren’t too proud of some things in their pasts.  Hmmm… thinking.

4. Share any way you have experienced “Immanuel,” God with you, in the last few days.   through YouTube :)   A few weeks ago when we memorized a hymn, I listened to the same few SO MANY times that they keep popping up in my mind and in my recommended videos in YouTube.  So, of course, I’ve listened again.

I’ll be gone a few days this week, too, but will continue the study in the background when I’m not posting.

    Reply

    Renee, this is a different Tamar. The one that was raped was David’s daughter. This Tamar was 10 generations before David.

      Reply

      Oh!! Dawn, thanks!  I would have been REALLY confused as we got further into this :)

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1. What stands out and why?

”We are broken vessels, but through the cracks shines the light of Christ.”

Sometimes I feel like the poster child for Much Forgiven. When I was 22 I made a foolish decision which caused me to believe that I had ruined my life and I was good for nothing. God never stopped pursuing me, caught me, and look at me now 33 years later living a life of peace with God. All Glory is for Him.

2. Yes, I have studied the women in the genealogy of Christ. I remember each woman made a choice which changed the course of their lives. 2 were Gentiles. 2 were Jews. Bathsheba was an adulterous. Ruth was loyal. Tamar knew how to look out for herself. Mary experienced an unplanned pregnancy. 20 centuries later they still have much to teach us.

3. Well, I know God wrote my story so he was not caught by surprise when sin “played”me and that knowledge gives me Hope as a faithful companion.

4. My stepmom’s health is failing so it’s comforting to me knowing God is with me as I help Daddy take care of her. For the first time in 7 months her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter came to visit her today. I would have been welcomed to join the conversation but I gave her time alone with her family. Later in the afternoon my stepmom told me how much she appreciates me helping her. I told her I take care of her just like I would my own mother. When I have anxious thoughts God’s Spirit brings to my mind a verse from scripture for me to meditate on.

    Reply

    Well, you certainly make a wonderful poster child, if indeed you are one. So often we don’t realize just how much we need to be forgiven.

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5. Read Genesis 38:1-11
A. Why do you think, looking at Genesis 37, that Judah might have wanted to leave his family?  Maybe he was running away after participating in the plot to sell Joseph & lie to their father ?????  Or maybe to find a wife in another area?
B. What failure of Judah can you see in verse 2? (See also Gen. 28:1-9) He saw a woman, “took her and went in to her.”   I’m not sure about the Genesis 28 passage, although it does seem that the family line has a lot of scheming when it comes to relationships.

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Sunday

1.  What stood out to me is, “can we still expect God to love us, forgives us, and use us” despite our sinfulness?  And the resounding answer is YES!  Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.

2.  Yes, I have studied the women in the genealogy of Christ.  What I remember most is the Providence of God in each of their lives and thinking I’m sure glad God knew what He was doing.

3.  What it means to me right now to know that these women were flawed and broken, yet God used them, is how important it is for me to trust God.  “As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so am I in His hand.” Jeremiah 18:6  He is continually forming and working on me, oh that I remain pliable in His hands so that I can be used by Him.

4.  I really enjoy and covet my early mornings by myself and it’s very rare that I get a Saturday morning but I did this last Saturday.  It was a sweet time for me to be alone with the Lord, meditating on His and Word and conversing with Him.

 

    Reply

    Yes, providence!

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5. Read Luke 4:14-21 
A. What scroll did Jesus unroll? 
Isaiah

 
Find find 5 things this prophet said the Messiah would do.
 

Proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to the captives, recovering the sight of the blind, set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to 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? 
 

The pause was for effect? The year of the Lords favor might not be a good thing; Isaiah 61 mentions vengeance.

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

The theme is to free those who are enslaved by something.

 
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.
I looked up the verse in several versions and basically we are told to treat others fairly, have mercy, and pay close attention to God.

I can do the first two easily at times, the third though I find difficult when God doesn’t show himself too clearly. I know the right things to do, but sometimes I want to take matters into my own hands. I’m thinking that when I don’t have the “answer” from Him that maybe I need to go into a more “hardcore” form of listening; like the Jews who covered themselves with sack cloths. I am in that situation now and my idea is to fast today. I need to hear Him.

 
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?
 

She would be given to her brother in law and he would take care of her.

 
In addition to caring for the widow, how did this provision bless the family of their deceased man? 
 

I suppose she would bear more children and they would help take care of the others?

 
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.
 

I guess the brokenness was Judah saying Joseph should be sold, but the light was he didn’t want him to be killed?

 

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What stands out to you from the above and why?

This is SO encouraging. What stood out to me is how they were so messed up yet so covered in His mercy and He honors them in Scripture to encourage us. I am with Chris. I too am a screwed up recipient of grace.

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

 

“My prayer is that you will experience the depth of God’s love for you, despite the fact you fail Him every day.” I need some of this, too….and I see others here do, too. I am so acutely aware that I fail every day, and often I look back over the years of raising my children and realize that I failed to teach and instruct them in certain things. The fact that God loves us and uses us despite our failures reminds me of what I heard in Tim Keller’s sermons last week. He said that some mistakenly believe the Bible is a book about heroes that we are to emulate; but there are no heroes, in that sense, in the Bible. There are flawed, broken people who God, despite themselves, chooses to work with. I just wish I could see in what way He is using me or working through me right now.

 

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

 

I think we’ve touched on this subject before….I remember our studying Tamar and Judah. It seems strange that Tamar would concoct a plan to deceive her father-in-law and sleep with him in order to get a child, and then Judah declares that “she is more righteous than I”. But he hadn’t made good on his promise to give his youngest son to her. Ruth was a foreigner who was brought in when she chose Naomi’s God. Rahab, a prostitute.

 

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

 

It means there is hope for me.

 

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

 

I have been going through a long, dry time in which God seems to be distant, and silent. I was listening to a podcast yesterday and the speaker said, intimacy means “into me see”. I never heard that before. That is what we all long for, to be seen for who we are; not for what we look like, for what we do or accomplish. Then I realized this is what I have with God. He truly “into me sees”.  Is it wrong for me to get frustrated that relationships so often are on the surface, or only about 1/4 inch deep? One or two women from my Sunday school class have been meeting an hour early before church at Panera to get to know each other, yet it seems all we talk about are our jobs, our families; one has grandchildren and she likes to share what’s going on with them. That’s fine, but I long for more.

    Reply

    I love that intimacy definition: into me see

      Reply

      Melinda Schmidt said that on Anita Lustrea’s podcast!

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    Susan, you are such a gem! I love that definition of intimacy, “Into me see”! And like you I too “long for more”.

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    Intimacy is often my deepest longing but also my biggest fear. I love the lyrics to this song by Tauren Wells called Known 

    https://youtu.be/x6T28lsTPwc

      Reply

      Lucy, Thanks for sharing this — so encouraging.  Fully known AND loved. “It’s not one or the other.”

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      Lucy,

      Thank you for posting this beautiful song.

      It’s so unusual it’s frightening
      I’m fully known and loved by You

      The heart of this song takes me right back to Tim Keller’s definition of the gospel:
      “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

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

Yesterday church was special. Our church leadership has been been embroiled in conflict, yesterday it felt like the Lord was so present among our congregation, I had tears almost the whole service.
For me personally it was a time over the past few days when the Lord brought the same truths repeatedly from different sources. I felt so so grateful & relieved, there’s been a long dry time for me. 

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Dee, just so you know there are a couple of times where the numbering backs up.

5.b.  He stopped before the day of vengeance because this part of the prophecy was for a later time. Some of it was fulfilled in 70ad with the destruction of Jerusalem, and the rest will be when Christ returns in judgement.

C.  What is important to Jesus in this passage is setting people free from sin and its effects. The outcome of that freedom becomes what we call social justice.

 

6.  Micah…I am aware I am looking at this from a different window than most of you. Social justice is very important. But if it is made first place, then the danger is for it to be more important than the gospel, or even able to stand alone without the gospel. If a person focuses on love and justice without Jesus, then they are making people more comfortable on their way to hell. I am frequently confronted with this thought in my vocation as a nurse. I help patch people up to live better another day, but without giving them Jesus, what good it is really?  I believe God wants justice and mercy to be clearly seen as coming from Him. That is why He put these things in the law.

 

7.  The brother of the deceased should take the widow into his household. He should care for her in every way as a wife, and then designate any children by her as his brother’s. That way the deceased’s name and property was forgotten or just absorbed.

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    Thanks, Mary! Appreciate you telling me early so I could fix it!

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Monday

5.  Luke 4:14-21

A.  It was a scroll from the prophet Isaiah.  5 things the prophet said Jesus would do…1.  Preach the gospel to the poor.  2.  Proclaim release to the captives.  3.  Recovery of sight to the blind.  4.  Set fee those who are oppressed.  5.  Proclaim the favorable year of the LORD.

B.  The rest of the sentence says, “and the day of vengeance of our God…”.   He stopped reading before this because it refers to His second coming, as the former refers to His first coming.

C.  What I think is important to Jesus from this passsage is to let them know that being the fulfillment of this Scripture, He is there to deliver them from sin.  I like what David Guzik’s commentary says, “Sin impoverishes (preach to the poor), sin enslaves (release to the captives), sin blinds (sight to the blind) and sin oppresses (set free those who are oppressed).”  Guzik goes on to say, “Thankfully, Jesus didn’t come to only preach deliverance or even to only bring deliverance, Jesus came to be deliverance for us.”

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Thank you, ladies for your welcoming words. Nila, I liked the sound bite, very good… thank you for sharing.

5. Read Luke 4:1421

A. What scroll did Jesus unroll? Find 5 things this prophet said the Messiah would do. The scroll of Isaiah was “handed” to him, which intrigues me…did Jesus ask for this scroll? Or it “just so happened” that this is where that congregation was in their reading (did Jews read through the Scriptures methodically?).

1. Proclaim good news to poor 2. Proclaim liberty (announce release, pardon, forgiveness) to captives. 3. Recover sight to the blind. 4. Set at liberty those oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy). 5. 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? Isaiah’s words are slightly different than what is quoted in Luke, why? The rest of the sentence is “[to proclaim] …  the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn.” I suspect He didn’t finish because the day of vengeance, the pouring out of God’s just wrath would not happen until Christ’s death. So while the day of the Lord’s favor had arrived the day of His vengeance was not quite upon them. I also suspect that perhaps Jesus may have been “easing into it”? Other times when he spoke of judgement He caused a lot of stir and maybe He didn’t want his message getting muddled … ?

 

C. From this passage, what do you think is very important to Jesus? I think the “right” answer is the poor, captive, blind, and oppressed … which, of course is ALL people …  But the greater import I see is Christ proclaiming He has come to do His Father’s will. The day has come to do the things set forth. Fulfilling God’s will is very important to him and he declared his purpose despite knowing he would be persecuted for it saying it (v. 22 on).

 

6. This cry for justice is the cry of every prophet. Reflect on it and share your thoughts. Can you have justice without mercy? Meaning: when punishment is given there is relief in those who were wronged. But to have mercy on he who deserves punishment means those wronged suffer more. But when God paid the price in full for us, it meant justice and mercy were served.

Micah 6:8 – really encompasses so much of Christ, and what I beg the Lord to put in my own heart.

Do what is right (even if it is hard)

Be merciful (humbly compassionate)and love (find joy in) it.

Walk (keep moving forward) humbly with (in your rightful place- “small,” alongside, not in front of or behind) God.

    Reply

    Jill,

    Thank you for the way you broke down Micah 6:8 here.  It has helped me to slow down, think it through and hopefully apply and walk out in a current difficult relationship.

    even if its hard

    humbly compassionate

    find joy in 

    keep moving forward…..in your rightful place – ‘small’ alongside, not in front of or behind God.

     
    Years ago I found a little book on a clearance table at a book store entitled Humility by Andrew Murray.

    “Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.” ― Andrew Murray, Humility

    The latin root of humility is hum or humis meaning lowly, of the earth.    A reminder of dust to dust.   Remembering my weakness and leaning into His strength.   That holy, beautiful undeserved exchange.

    Reply

    Jill, so thankful for the version on Micah 6:8. I needed to read it.
    Do what is right (even if it is hard)  It is hard right now
    Be merciful (humbly compassionate)and love (find joy in) it. I want to scream at times
    Walk (keep moving forward) humbly with (in your rightful place- “small,” alongside, not in front of or behind) God. I have been impatient
    So help me God.

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7. 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? They could marry the brother of their husband, which gave them the chance to have provision through a husband and son. It is interesting to me that God made laws allowing what we would consider sinful today, marrying more than one woman. The deceased’s family would be blessed through continuing lineage of their loved one. A reverse adoption of sorts. Someone “official” to “pass on to” the things they loved, and love itself. As humans we cling to that which will not end, we find comfort in that…which of course is an echo of our longing for heaven.

 

8. Find one instance in Genesis 37: 12-27 and find both brokenness and light. Judah has a conflict in his heart. It seems either he is greedy beyond reason (wanting gain from the sale of Joseph) or he is wrestling with God, trying to get both what he wants and obey some semblance of conscience that is asserting itself in his soul. Perhaps the crack in the things that have worked in his life that will eventually allow God through. He is obviously broken to believe that killing/harming/selling someone that he doesn’t like is justified. But I do the same in more discreet ways, dismissing those in my heart who aren’t of the same mind as I or grate a specific nerve…. “Lord, I need you, O! I need You, every hour I need You!”

    Reply

    Jill,

    Much of what you say here resonates with me:

    7.  As humans we cling to that which will not end, we find comfort in that…which of course is an echo of our longing for heaven.

    8. He is obviously broken to believe that killing/harming/selling someone that he doesn’t like is justified. But I do the same in more discreet ways, dismissing those in my heart who aren’t of the same mind as I or grate a specific nerve…. “Lord, I need you, O! I need You, every hour I need You!”

     

     

    Reply

    Jill, I am glad to see you back on the blog! You have a way of applying these truths to us today: “But I do the same in more discreet ways, dismissing those in my heart who aren’t of the same mind as I or grate a specific nerve.” How did you know….I do the same. OH.

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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. Jesus read from Isaiah. Messiah would preach the good news or gospel to the poor; proclaim release to the captives; recovery of sight to the blind; set those who are downtrodden free; and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord! 
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? And to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. He stopped because that prophesy will not be fulfilled until His 2nd coming. 
C. From this passage, what do you think is very important to Jesus? The Good News of the new covenant was very important for Him to communicate…this is good news indeed for those who are afflicted, broken-hearted, who are in bondage and who struggle to see! 
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. To better understand the quote from Micah…we need to read what comes before…With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I sacrifice my first born for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? THIS is the cry of a soul burdened by guilt and the duties and obligations of religion. BUT Messiah came to point to a better way…that we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly…these things can be a healing balm to my sin sick soul! 

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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 widow’s brother in law was to take her in as a wife and lie with her and any resulting children would then carry on the family name and inherit their fathers property…keeping it in 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. Brokenness- looking to make a profit from this deal…a way to compromise and get rid of Joseph without bringing blood guilt upon himself and find a way to profit as well. Light- Judah acknowledged that Joseph was family and this seemed to evoke a sense of guilt in the plot to kill him off. 

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5. Read Luke 4:14-21
A. What scroll did Jesus unroll?
the scroll of the prophet Isaiah
Find find 5 things this prophet said the Messiah would do.
1) proclaim good news to the poor; 2)  proclaim liberty to the captives; 3) recovering of sight to the blind; 4) set at liberty those who are oppressed; 5) 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.   (wow, interesting) “and the day of vengeance of our God;”
Why do you think Jesus stopped?  My guess: In verse 21, Jesus said “Todaythis Scripture  has been fulfilled in your hearing.”      The part about the day of vengeance hadn’t been fulfilled yet ??
C. From this passage, what do you think is very important to Jesus? showing mercy, loving people.  People seem more open, have softer hearts when bad stuff is going on, and Jesus meets them/us in our need.
 

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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.  

One of my favorite verses, even though I don’t think I’ve really reflected on it — at least not in the same way I read it in the image above.   Seems as if humility should co-exist with humility, humbly walking with God.  He is the source of justice and mercy.  Because justice and mercy ultimately are from Him & reflect Him, there isn’t room for pride we what we think we accomplish in the name of justice or mercy.

P.S.  Dee, it’s safer in the closet  ;)

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    :-)

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8.  Both brokenness and light in Judah.  I find it fascinating that Judah suggested sparing Joseph’s life because he was their brother; yet also suggested selling him and letting their father believe he had been killed.

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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?
 

Because they were scary, crazy people!

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

He “took” a Canaanite woman. He should not have done that because it was forbidden in his family. However, does it mean he married her? Or, just had sex with her?

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

He struck them dead. The first born was “wicked” and the second didn’t listen; he didn’t follow the custom/law of the people.

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

That she she would be taken care of by the family; she was to wait in her fathers house until the youngest son was old enough to marry and he would be her husband.

 
    E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise? 
 

He thought the youngest would also die like the brothers.

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

I think he thought she was the link that was making the trouble. It was easier to blame someone else for his troubles, instead of taking responsibility for the situation.

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

Oh boy, this is a loaded question! I have a direct situation with this right now; our daughter’s boyfriend. People like this feel they have always been troubled, that life hasn’t been “fair” to them. They have s chip on their shoulder. They believe they deserve more. I think it’s a matter of not standing on their own two feet. They would rather blame others than take charge of themselves. In our case the man is lazy and wants everything given to him.

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5. Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah: to preach good news, to proclaim freedom, to recover sight, to release the oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor… Here he stopped.

The scroll also read “and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.”

He did not refer to the judgment to come.

6. Micah 6:8 This passage speaks so much to my heart. Yes, to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. And the real test is the humility, the opposite of pride and self-absorbency. I am drawn to those who show the real strength of a humble and gentle spirit.

7. The law was for a brother to marry the wife of a deceased brother who had no sons so that she might bear a child.(Deuteronomy)

8. Judah- brokenness and light; He was eager to be rid of Joseph by selling him, yet he did not want him to be killed as other brothers did.

9.A. Judah may have had a guilty conscience for choosing to sell his brother.

B.Judah’s failure: in marrying a Canaanite woman.

C. God allowed Judah’s first two sons to die because of their wickedness and disobedience.

D. Judah made a promise to Tamar that if she lived as a widow, when his youngest son grew up, he would be her husband, yet he did not keep this promise.

E. Judah was afraid that this third son would also die.

F. I believe that he wanted to blame her for being a prostitute though he had used her services…

G. A victim mentality often is seen when people  try to blame another for their own weakness, to cover up their own sin. It is a weak area in their own character when they should have removed themselves from a bad situation. (not easy though necessary)

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I wonder if a victim mentality can be a result of not understanding the depth of God’s love for us.

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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? Perhaps because he had instigated selling Joseph. 
B. What failure of Judah can you see in verse 2? (See also Gen. 28:1-9) He took a wife from the Canaanites and not from his own people. 
    C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think? They did  not keep the law or have regard for God’s word. 
    D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar? Go home and wait until my youngest son is old enough to fulfill his obligation to you and his brother. 
    E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise? Judah was afraid that he would lose this son also. After all, everyone that slept with Tamar died! 
    F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself? It’s always easier to look out than to look in and easier to find fault with those who are “different” rather than with ourselves who are the “chosen”. Guilt often drives us to this.
    G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality? If I am a victim then I don’t have to do anything or take any responsibility for myself. I can just sit and mope about all that’s been done to me instead of all that’s been done for me! 

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5. Read Luke 4:14-21

 

A. What scroll did Jesus unroll?  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  Find five things this prophet said the Messiah would do.  1) Preach good news to the poor  2) proclaim freedom for the prisoners  3) proclaim recovery of sight for the blind  4) release the oppressed  5) 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?

Jesus stopped after saying “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”. The rest of the sentence is “and the day of vengeance of our God”. Did Jesus not say that because He came to die and save the lost? He did not come into the world to judge the world but to save it….the day of God’s vengeance will come in the future. With God in the flesh among men, it surely was the year of God’s favor as He came down to dwell among His people and tell them the Good News of how they could be right with God.

 

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

 

To carry out the will of His Father, the reason He was sent, and I believe the poor, the prisoners, the blind and oppressed describes the spiritual condition of those living in darkness, imprisoned by sin and fear and death. Jesus came to free those from the penalty and power of sin.

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10. Read Genesis 38:12-30
    A. What do you learn about Judah in verse 12? A number of years had passed and Judah’s wife died. He observed an appropriate period of mourning. He was still friends with Hirah! 
    B. What did Tamar apparently know about Judah’s habits? She knew he was still involved in the care of his sheep. It was likely his custom or habit to go up for the shearing of the sheep…spring time maybe? 
    C. What was Tamar’s scheme? What do you think motivated her? She knew that Shelah was all grown up now and had not been given to her. So she decided to disguise herself as a harlot and have sex with Judah. I’m wondering if her motives were several…a considerable time had passed…her humiliation would have been well known…for “It was told to Tamar” what Judah’s plans were. Her parents would also have been aging and she may have been getting desperate to secure her financial future while also alleviating her shame. The fact that Judah went up for the sheep shearing seems to indicate that he was well situated financially. 
    D. What was Judah’s response upon hearing of Tamar’s pregnancy? What does this tell you about his heart? Judah’s response was “Bring her out and let her be burned”! A self-righteous response for sure! So, in his heart he still had regard for the law! 
E. How do you see repentance in Judah? He “recognized” his own personal items that she had and in those he saw his own sin. He had been willing to lie with who he thought was a harlot. And he immediately acknowledged his failure to fulfill his promise to her.

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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.

 

“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.”

He has showed you….God did show us, by example, what is good. Jesus came and modeled for us what is means to act justly, to be merciful, and to walk in humility. It seems I remember we studied a passage in Isaiah in which God wasn’t pleased with His people, their sacrifices meant nothing to Him, because they were not practicing justice for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed; they weren’t paying their workers their fair wage.

 

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 the deceased man?

If brothers were living together and one of them died without a son, one of the deceased husband’s brothers was to marry his widow and provide for her and hopefully, have a son who would carry on the name of the dead brother. It blessed the dead man’s family to have his name carried on to future generations “so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.”

 

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.

 

Brokenness – Judah sat with his brothers, eating a meal while their helpless little brother, Joseph, was likely crying out from the well. How could you sit and eat in that situation? The brothers (except Reuben) were planning to kill Joseph. Then Judah saw a caravan coming and decided it would be more profitable to sell Joseph as a slave: get rid of him and make money at the same time.

It is ironic that he says, “after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood”….so let’s not kill him, but let’s sell our own flesh and blood and have him carried off. Is that the “light”? The light I saw in this passage came from Reuben who wanted to spare Joseph and return him to his father.

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    Truly, just a flicker of light! Yes, Reuben had the light.

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Find 5 things this prophet said the Messiah would do.

proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recover sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 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. 

“to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.”

Why do you think Jesus stopped? 

I think he stopped because this part of the text will be fulfilled when He returns….the thought of the fulfillment…I don’t have words.
Part of the sermon this week at church was about promises and how they always require waiting, & what do we do with our waiting time. 

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

People, I think people are very important to Jesus, especially people who are disadvantaged.

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

I have wondered if the guilt of what the brothers had done, and watching the grief of Jacob was more than Judah could bear, so he went away.
B. What failure of Judah can you see in verse 2? (See also Gen. 28:1-9) 
He married a Canaanite woman 
    C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think?

He ended their lives, the text says they were wicked. Given the Micah passage, I wondered if the Lord was being merciful to Tamar in this.
    F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself?
In a sermon from Keller called Sin as Self Deceit he puts forth that human beings have a nearly infinite capacity to deny the truth if the truth is too painful or difficult.
I don’t think Judah could allow himself to see what was plainly true. This makes me shudder, I wonder what I don’t see that is plain.

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    Interesting thought, Chris, about running from the guilt.

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8.  Judah was with his brothers in their animosity toward Joseph in wanting to kill him. Yet when he saw the Midianites, he switched over to saving Joseph’s life by selling him into Egypt.

 

9.a.  It had to be hard for Judah to watch his father continually grieve and yet hold on to the secret and his part in it.

B.  Judah failed to follow what he knew was best when he married a Canaanite woman.

c.  God put the two to death. It says Er was wicked in God’s sight, and that Onan acted in wicked ways. He was willing to fulfill what was pleasant for him, but not everything.

f.  It was easier for Judah to blame Tamar than to admit he was the one who moved to a pagan area, married a pagan wife, chose a pagan to marry his son, and never taught his sons the true ways of God.

g.  Victim mentality comes from thinking of myself as righteous and therefore every negative thing that happens to me as ‘evil’.

 

10.a.  Judah had recovered from being widowed and went with his pagan friend to the party that was sheep shearing.

B.  Tamar knew that Judah would look for a prostitute, and where.

c.  Tamar’s scheme was to have sex with Judah and become pregnant. She was living in a precarious position and needed to do something about it.

d. Judah was self righteous when he heard about the pregnancy, and wanted her killed. It must have seemed like now he had reason to finally and completely get rid of the problem of this daughter in law.

e.  When confronted with the evidence of his complicity, he admitted freely he had not kept his word to her, and she was more righteous than he.

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C. What did God do to Judah’s first two sons and why, do you think?
put them to death; they were “wicked in the sight of the Lord”  — and their behavior would be passed on to the rest of the family??  Maybe it was because God was protecting the lineage?
    D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar?
that she could marry the young son, Shelah, when he grew up
    E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise?
that Shelah would die, too
    F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself?
The predominant thought in my brain is “correlation vs causation!”  But that only restates the question.  SO, I think it is easier/less threatening and less painful in the short term to blame others than to look at our own sins.
    G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality?
I think that it is because people don’t fully grasp God’s love and His forgiveness — so the only safety is in blaming others.  Of course, sometimes people really are victims of wrong-doing by others, but even that involves recognizing and receiving God’s forgiveness in order to forgive the perpetrator.

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Dee, How’s your hand/injury?  

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    Thanks, Renee. I’m on the mend — hoping to be restored by Christmas! Thank you.

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      Glad to hear you are on the mend, Dee.

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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?

Judah knew his guilt, what he had done along with his brothers, to Joseph, and the lie they told their father. Jacob’s continual grief over the son that he now believed to be dead didn’t allow Judah to escape it, to just ‘get over it and move on’. Seeing his father’s anguish and knowing that he was the cause….perhaps that is why he left his family.

 

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

He married a Canaanite woman. In Genesis 28, Isaac commanded Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman.

 

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

Er, the firstborn, was wicked, and so the Lord killed him. Perhaps he worshipped the gods of the Canaanites because his mother was a Canaanite. Onan was supposed to marry Tamar, Er’s widow, and continue his brother’s name by having children with her, but Onan deliberately avoided doing this, so the Lord killed him too. Perhaps God was ‘weeding out’ those from the lineage of His Son?

 

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

He would let her marry his youngest son, Shelah, when he was old enough to marry.

 

E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise?

That Shelah would die like his brothers.

 

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

He might have seen Tamar as somehow bringing bad luck or misfortune to his family. It was easier to blame her than to look honestly at his own sin or the sin of his children.

 

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

Refusing to look honestly in the mirror and admit your own sin, mistakes, and failures that have contributed to the situation you are in. It’s so much easier to blame the government, your parents/upbringing, your job, your spouse….and they may indeed have caused harm or damage to you that was not your fault; an abused child is certainly a victim at the hands of the parent. Yet as an adult, to continue the cycle of abuse is not taking responsibility for your own actions and life, getting counseling or other help that you need. I always cite my dad as an example of this, because his father was physically and emotionally abusive, throwing my dad into walls and he had to get stitches in his head. My dad knew this was wrong and he never abused me or my sisters. My dad’s father never showed him any love, but my dad has been a loving dad and grandpa. My dad has not lived his life as a victim.

 

 

 

 

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    Great to see how your dad broke the chain, Susan.

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    Yes, Susan. It is so great to hear how your father did not become an abuser. We so often hear the sad tales of how things go the other way! Just think how different your life might have been. I am presuming that your father is a Christian, though I cannot remember his story.

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      Diane, my dad did not become a Christian until he was in his 80’s!

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    Susan, I too am glad to hear your Dad has broken the chain of abuse. I see quite a few of this among my students and I hurt for them and hope they will not repeat the same thing in their own families. And yet, I cannot expect godly change if they do not know the Lord. I am sad about it.

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    Susan  – thanks for sharing about your dad.  That is such a clear example of breaking the cycle.

    My husband and his brother also have broken out of abusive childhoods and become healers instead of abusers.  It’s amazing for me to see the scores of students who write my husband thank you notes, for his patience and kindness to them.   He was neglected by his birth parents and abused by his adoptive parents….and yet, by God’s grace, he is a leader and a helper to those who are hurting and broken.

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10. Read Genesis 38:12-30
    A. What do you learn about Judah in verse 12?
 

Judah’s wife dies. He goes to visit his sheep shearer in another town.

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

Tamar knew his route.

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

She wanted to trap her father in law so he would have to marry her. I think she was motivated by not wanting to be a widow the rest of her life; she wanted him to stand by his word to let her marry the youngest and he wasn’t doing that.

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

He was angry that she was pregnant and wanted to burn her. He didn’t care about her, only that she follow his rules without question.

 
E. How do you see repentance in Judah?
He admits he was wrong in not giving her to his youngest son. He calls her “righteous.”

 

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12.  Some sin, while not needing anything other than Christ’s atonement on the cross, are greater. When we have greater knowledge and better opportunities in life, our responsibility is greater. The article says the circumstances accompanying the sin make a difference, and willful sin is much greater than ignorant sin. “Yielding to presumptious sins soon make the man a slave of his own weaknesses.” (DoI ever feel this!) teaching that contributes to the lostness of another is worse. And some sins have greater consequences. Hatred vs murder, apostasy vs ignorance. Some sins are more destructive, public sins vs private sins, weakness vs rebellion, especially the progressive nature of rebellion.

 

13.  Judah knew better. He knew fornication was wrong, as well as to break promises. Tamar was acting out of her limited knowledge and culture.

 

14.  In Isaiah, God calls out His people because they thought the rituals of fasting and sacrifice and ‘humbling’ themselves would more than make up for their heart sin of going their own way and living as they pleased.

 

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    I too was struck by the sentence in the article “Yielding to presumptuous sins soon make the man a slave to his own weaknesses.” How much easier it is to see the speck in someone else’s eye than to see the log in my own!

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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? This people have committed a great sin! What do you learn from this? Idolatry was the sin and it is “great” meaning more aggregious or offensive to a greater degree. 
B. What does Jesus say in John 19:11? He who delivered me up to you has the greater sin! (Jesus talking to Pilate). 
12. Read the following and comment: 
https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/966-are-some-sins-greater-than-others I have often wondered about this very question and argued against there being “degrees” of sin from the standpoint that all sin results in death. However, the scriptures do present it differently…but maybe not so much in degrees of “sin” but in the degree of “deadness” in the sinners heart. I know that we who believe are held to a higher standard since we have had glimpses of the heart of God and know bits of His holiness! This truth is reflected in the world as well…we hold those in positions of responsibility to a higher standard than others. I love the term and imagery of the “genealogy of sin” from James 1.
13. Why do you think Judah perceives that his sin was more grievous than his daughter-in-law’s sin? Because he knew God’s law and knew that he was of the chosen people. 
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. How readily do I long to hear the Lord call me by the name “the repairer of the breach” (v. 12), when my name is so much more often I fast to “find my desire” (v. 3) and I am far too often the “pointing of the finger” (v. 9)! 
15. How could you more consistently do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God? I can daily ask the Lord to search my heart and reveal my wicked ways to me…as Ann Voskamp says that it takes specific nails of thanksgiving to drive out the nails of discontent…my heart is humbled by the confessing of my specific sins as opposed to a broad brush stroke of  just being sorry! 
16. What do you see in Judah in Genesis 44:18-34? Comments? I see remorse and repentance…a willingness now to give his life in exchange for another’s. 
17. In what areas of your life is repentance apparent? This is a hard question for me…The past several years have been bitter ones in which there has been a betrayal by my husband, his professed sorrow but also a lack of what I see as the fruit of his repentance…but the Lord is also showing me that I continue to harbor unforgiveness which is just as damaging if not more so! A true change of heart can only be wrought at the manger/cross.

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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?
idolatry is a great sin.  I learn that we can’t always determine from the outside what are the greatest sins.   ?? Is that what I should be learning?
B. What does Jesus say in John 19:11?
that the people who delivered Jesus to Pilate were worse than Pilate.   I think (??) this is saying that someone who knows the law and disobeys it is worse than someone who doesn’t knowingly disobey the law.
12. Read the following and comment: 
https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/966-are-some-sins-greater-than-others 
Interesting stuff –  some of what spun all the little wheels in my head:

-the genealogy of sin and that in Greek, sin is referred to as “the sin.”  Therefore, a sin early in its development (e.g., thought life) potentially could be as damning as or more damning than full-blown bad actions.

“The issue does not lie in the sin itself but in the circumstances that accompany the sin.”

-arrogance is worse than ignorance because it makes someone a slave to his or her own weaknesses.  This really makes sense to me, not only because arrogance is more obnoxious but because self-deceit is sort of a trap with no obvious way out.  Someone who is arrogant has become unable to see the truth whereas someone who is ignorant may be open to learning.

Question to self:  Will I turn to the Lord in my ignorance or become defensive,  arrogant & trapped in a sin?  (“a sin” because my defensiveness level seems different for different categories of sin!)

Circumstance 1:  teaching error which causes another to be lost.   This certainly is consistent with Scripture and motivates me to pray more for those who teach the Word — and all of us as we share Him.

Circumstance 2: greater consequences.  Hater may have lessor temporal punishment than murderer

Oops! Computer screen finally may be biting the dust — lots more thoughts but will post now & come back

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    Thoughtful responses.

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Will try to extend my temporary fix further to get rid of big black stripe and block out of

right half of screen or you will see some weirder than usual posts :) especially in format

Article also raises question of whether we can lose our salvation — not sure I am in the mood for

thinking in that direction at the moment!!

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

My eyes watered at this: “My prayer is that you will experience the depth of God’s love for you, despite the fact you fail Him every day.” That seems to echo something He’s been speaking to me, of course all my life, but my ears are more open lately to hearing it.

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

My memory is pretty faulty but I know we have here before. Lately (with our Advent family devotions) Mary has been heavy on my heart. Her “yes” to God, and her heart that first, before running anywhere else, prayed.

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

I’ve been going through a series of Keller sermons (lots of driving time these days!) and this week I’ve been on his “knowing we know” in 1 John. The one I heard today, he said something that was not new information to me, but it struck me “anew”. Keller said: “the moment you become a child of God he loves you that way regardless of whether you’ve had a good or bad week and therefore God will not be able to actually love you anymore a billion years from now when you’re perfect and glorified than he does now”. I think a part of me so looks forward to being made like Him fully, because then I would be more pleasing to Him. But whatever I picture His response then, is His response to me NOW. Oh—tears, still, with that truth.

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

I think I’ll say what I just shared on #3.  And I’ll share this-I’ve recently had a really icky wound from extended family (sisters) re-surface and get all re-hashed. Still nothing resolved, no reconciliation from them, but I have peace. I know I have forgiven, my heart is soft towards a truly unfair judgement and treatment of me and my son—yet, I’m OK. And I’m able to look at my tiny family here listening to nightly Advent devotions, and thank Him.  And I know that is His work, and His shield about me.

 

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    Lizzy, I am so sad to hear about continued unfair judgement of you and your son. I will lift that issue up again before the Lord. But, oh, how His light shines through your response and the peace and soft-heartedness of your spirit toward your sisters. What an encouragement you are to us here!

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      oh Diane, you are a treasure. So thankful for you.

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    I remember loving those words from Keller too.
    i am so sad circumstances have not changed with your sisters, but am so thankful for your peace.

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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?
Running away from guilt of his part in the selling of Joseph to the Egyptians?
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?
They died because they did evil in the Lord’s sight.
    D. What promise did Judah make to his daughter-in-law Tamar?
To have the youngest son, Shelah be her husband when he is grown or of age.
    E. What fear kept him from keeping his promise?
That the youngest will die as well.
    F. Challenge: Why do you think Judah blamed Tamar instead of his sons or himself?
Maybe that Tamar did something to make them do evil things.
    G. What do you think causes people to develop a victim mentality?
It is always somebody else’s fault.
10. Read Genesis 38:12-30
    A. What do you learn about Judah in verse 12?
His wife died…went through a period of mourning and tended to his own business right away.
    B. What did Tamar apparently know about Judah’s habits?
That he likes to go to the temple and have illicit relationships with the women there.
    C. What was Tamar’s scheme? What do you think motivated her?
To pose as a prostitute and to give Judah a lesson.
    D. What was Judah’s response upon hearing of Tamar’s pregnancy? What does this tell you about his heart?
To bring her out and be burned to death. He is judgmental.
E. How do you see repentance in Judah?
He said she was more righteous than he was. There was finally an acknowledgment that he did her wrong. He also did not sleep with her anymore.

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