Weird is the New Normal: A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis- Day Thirty-One

Weird is the New Normal:  A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis
 
Weird – “of strange or extraordinary character.”
Normal – “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”
  • Merriam Webster
Day Thirty-One – “What will you give me to sleep with you?” – Tamar (Gen. 38: 16)
Warning: Some of the weird material found in the Book of Genesis is rated PG-13. Children 13 and under will DEFINITELY need some parental guidance when they read this! (Go ask your mother)
I’ve always appreciated the fact that the Bible does not try to hide it’s weirdness.  Tamar (a relative of Jesus) has a weird back story, for example. Her story begins with Judah (one of Jacob’s sons with Leah) who married a Canaanite woman, and had some sons with her – Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah got a wife for Er (Tamar), but Er was wicked, so the Lord put him to death. He died before having children with Tamar. The custom in that day was “levirate marriage.” The brother of the deceased man is obliged to marry his brother’s widow.  So, Onan was supposed to marry Tamar and have children with her. Onan refused to do his “duty.” Details are in Gen. 38: 8-9, but just know that what Onan did was considered wicked, and the Lord also put him to death.
That left the youngest, Shelah. Judah told Tamar to go back home to her father’s house and live there until Shelah got old enough to marry her. BUT – Judah never intended for that to happen. He thought Tamar was “jinxed,” and didn’t want to lose Shelah, too. So, Tamar waited, and waited… Shelah grew up… Still Judah refused to do the right thing.
Tamar decided to take the matter into her own hands. She knew that Judah was traveling to Timnah to shear his sheep, so she found a spot on the side of the road, disguised herself as a prostitute, and waited.  Along came Judah, and said, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” (or something propositional), which brings us to our question for today. “How much will you pay me, mister?”
“I don’t have my wallet on me,” said Judah. “Can I give you an IOU?” Tamar said, “Leave me your seal, its cord, and your staff as a deposit.” He agrees. They have their “moment,” and both go their separate ways.  A few months later, Tamar comes up pregnant. Judah is outraged! He is going to have Tamar burned at the stake. Tamar says, “The father of this child is the owner of this seal, cord, and staff. Do you recognize them, Judah?” Oh, snap!
Judah realizes that he is more guilty here than Tamar. He did not do right by her. Did Tamar did the wrong thing for the right reason? Yes. Does God work through less-than-perfect people and circumstances to accomplish his will?  Also yes.
Reflection:  Have you ever done the wrong thing for the right reason?  Has God ever redeemed your “mess?”
Action: Read Jesus’ genealogy in Matt. 1: 1-16. Find the women in there and look up their stories.

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