I have been studying the story of Tamar. When I grow up I want to be more like her. Oh, don’t get me wrong…I hope I never have to endure the hardships she had to live with. But in many ways, I want to be more like her.
Her story is influenced by some really tough blended family dynamics. You think your blended family is tough? Remember Joseph and his coat of many colors? Well, Joseph’s half-brothers hated him and planned to kill him, but then his brother Judah suggested they sell him into slavery instead. Judah lived with shame, regret and grief over what he had done. The choices he made in his blended family had a profound effect on his own family later when he became married and had children.
But, back to Tamar. Her lot in life was filled with abuse, disrespect, and mistreatment at the hands of family members who should have protected her and loved on her. When she was still a child, her father arranged for her to marry a horribly unkind man (Judah’s son Er). She was abused, mocked, and mistreated by Judah’s family. Eventually, God struck her evil husband dead, and her next one too. Then Judah sent her in shame back to her father’s house. She had become a shamed widow through no fault of her own. And on top of it all, she had no children (and thus no status or worth in her society). She was doomed.
And yet, she remained faithful to God, patient, obedient, and respectful to those around her…even to those who mistreated her. (note: I’m not suggesting anyone stay in an abusive relationship).
Then as if things couldn’t get worse, she became pregnant outside of wedlock. When her father-in-law Judah found out, he issued an order that she should be killed. Imagine, her own father-in-law wanted her killed. But then, Judah found out that he was the father and Tamar was not put to death.
God rescued Tamar from death. She gave birth to not only one baby, but to twins, and through her line eventually our Savior Jesus Christ was born.
For many years, her life was filled heartache. But God had great plans for her, in His timing, and He was faithful. He brought healing for Judah as well when Judah was restored with his brother Joseph. And healing for all of the brothers in the blended family when Joseph forgave them.
Isn’t it amazing the goodness and beauty that God can create from a seemingly hopeless situation, even a tough blended family situation?
I want to be that Tamar-like Stepmom who is patient, respectful, and kind even if others mistreat me; the one with that unwavering faith in God.
Check it out: Genesis Chapters 37-38. Author Francine Rivers sheds more light on Tamar’s story in her book “A Lineage of Grace: Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity” (2002).
Today I am thankful for this story of Tamar and the things I can learn from her as well as the reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
What are you thankful for?