Christmas is here. *happy sigh* We have waited for this season in my house for weeks. One of the things I was MOST excited about – was my new series here at Worshipful Living. We are going to talk about women. Real life women. Women who have messed up. Who were imperfect. Who were just like you and me. Women who God choose to use, because of HIS great love. Women His grace fell heavy on. Women that were in the lineage of Christ. The Women of Christmas.
Before we dive into our first Woman of Christmas, I need to give you some background info. I got this idea as I was studying out Christ birth – and I was cross referencing the different accounts in scripture. What I found so amazing was that only in the book of Matthew, a book written to a Jewish audience was there ANY mention of women. This stood out to me because women were not the ones written about in Jewish lineage. The “family line” always passed down through the eldest male in the family. As I began to read the account of Matthew, I stopped quickly in my tracks.
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Issac; and Issac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Tamar;….. Matthew 1:1-3
Stop. The first mention of a lady. I know – I am guilty of it too. Getting to “begat” sections of scripture, and skimming. However, when I really started looking into the line of Christ- I was amazed. From spending the last several months in the book of Genesis, I knew how “dysfunctional” this family was. And then, right there, in pages of black and white, in the lineage of the King of the Jews, sat Tamar.
Tamar. Do you remember her story from Genesis 38? In the story, we find a daughter in law to Judah, whose husband passes away.As was custom, her brother in law should have married her and passed on the lineage. He does not do what is custom- and then he too is dead. So, Judah asks Tamar to remain a widow until his younger son is able to marry her. This would have followed the Jewish traditions that we see in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. This would insure that her late husband’s heritage would move on through his brother and that the widow would be cared for. However, Judah doesn’t make good on his promise. The son is grown- and Tamar is still alone. When Judah doesn’t make good on the promise, Tamar takes matters into her own hands. She plays a prostitute, and has affairs with her father in law – and gets pregnant. The story comes out after she is beginning to show – and Judah is quick to have her stoned. However, she proves that the child is Judah’s, and Tamar gives birth to twin sons – who happen to be in the line of Christ.
Tamar. The woman who gave herself to prostitution – because she wanted to take matters into her own hands. The woman who was tired of waiting. She resorted to deception and incest when she could not get a child any other way.
Yet, the grace of God fell. God used that woman who took matters into her own hands. He used the woman who didn’t wait. The woman who gave herself in intimacy outside of marriage in order to trick her father in law. Deception. Incest. God’s grace fell heavy on her life.
God’s grace continues to fall heavy on the lives of women. Maybe you can’t relate to all of Tamar’s story. You might not have tricked your Father in Law into an affair so you will get pregnant. However, you have probably been deceptive. Sexual sin might lurk at your door – or at least in your heart and mind. Maybe a lack of purity before marriage- or in marriage- is haunting you. Maybe you are deceiving someone – even if that someone is you. We can all relate to Tamar, at some point of her life, to some point of our life.
Sweet sister, Grace falls heavy on us today too. God used this woman. Her mistakes. Her past. It doesn’t glorify the sin – but it glorifies the God who is bigger than the sin. He takes our ashes and turns them into beauty.
If you have been a Tamar, know you are not alone. I have been too. Yet, I have let the God of all Grace unlock my chains, and I hold my hands open before him as His grace falls like heavy rain on my heart. Open your arms, give him your hardest and ugliest places, and let Grace fall.
Worshiping With My Life,