Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9/22- Genesis 38:13-19 Grace out of sin- the genealogy of Jesus

(Judah and Tamar- Rembrandt)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary year of Calvin's birth.

9/22- Genesis 38 selections
13 When Tamar was told, "Your father-in-law [who had denied her a child according to the law through his sons] is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep," 14 she took off her widow's clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, "Come now, let me sleep with you." "And what will you give me to sleep with you?" she asked.
17 "I'll send you a young goat from my flock," he said. "Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?" she asked. 18 He said, "What pledge should I give you?" "Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand," she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes again. (Gen. 38:13-19)

Calvin abridged: Here is the genealogy of Judah to which the writer of Genesis devotes more labor because the Redeemer descended from Judah. The continuous history of that tribe from which salvation was to be brought, could not remain unknown, without loss. Yet its glorious nobility is not celebrated here, rather its deepest family disgrace is exposed. Rather than making Judah’s descendants proud, it covers them with shame. At first sight the dignity of Christ would seem to somewhat tarnished by such dishonor; yet because there is the emptying that St. Paul speaks of [Phil. 2:1-11] it rather increases his glory instead of detracting from it. First, we wrong Christ if we do not deem him alone sufficient to blot our any shame from the misconduct of his ancestors. Second, we know that the riches of God’s grace shines in that Christ clothed himself in human flesh, giving up any good reputation. Third, his ancestors are dishonored that we should be content with him alone, seeking no one else but Christ. We should not seek earthly splendor in Christ, seeing that secular ambition is always too much inclined to seek such things. We should especially note two things: First that special honor was given to the tribe of Judah and that it was chosen (elected) as the spring-source from which the salvation of the world should flow. Secondly, that this narration is not honorable to the people in the story so that no pride may come to the ancestors of Christ nor their descendants. Christ derives no glory from his ancestors, and he has no secular glory. His chief and most illustrious triumph was on the cross. By his infinite purity all of his ancestors were cleansed- just as the sun, by absorbing whatever purities are in the earth and air purges the world.

Thought: There were five women mentioned in Jesus genealogy: Tamar of Canaan, Ruth the Moabitis, Rahab the prostitute, and Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba). Matthew, by the Holy Spirit, could have picked other women less stained- like Sarah or Rebekah. Yet perhaps all are stained. Certainly Judah was stained more than Tamar (he admitted it in this passage). David admitted more fault than Bathsheba. The grace of God is clearly evident. God can take sinners, and even our sin (Tamar’s union produced Perez- the ancestor of Jesus; without Rahab’s prostitution, it is doubtful that she would have been chosen as a refuge by the spies; David and Bathsheba’s union eventually produce Solomon). God may take those with the worst job (like a prostitute), the worst ancestry (like Ruth- a despised Moabitis- whose ancestors were involved in child-sacrifice), the worst situation (a hopeless, penniless, neglected widow like Tamar), and the worst sin (the adultery and murder involved in David and Bathsheba’s relationship)- and make the very best out of it. There are too many Christians who have given up hope for our country today and for us. But hope can come if we have faith. Our hope is not in our economic prosperity or military prowess. Our hope comes from God- and the best thing is not the elevation of our secular power, but the turning of our country (also our churches, our families and us as individuals) back to God.

Prayer: In the midst of our sin, O God, help us to see your grace. In the darkness, give us hope to cling to your light- however dim in the future it may gleam.

No comments:

Post a Comment