Have you ever been on a spot-lighted stage? If you have not, the first thing you will notice is that you cannot see a thing; you are literally blinded by the light, although everyone in the place can see you quite clearly. In contrast, the least distinguishable person in the room is the person standing behind and operating the spotlight. These distinctives are well-known to a sinner and incredibly, despite the fact the spot light has yet to be invented; Judah is also acquainted with the phenomenon. Before diving-in to that, let’s summarize what Judah’s been up to…
A Sordid Tale
Judah gets married and father’s three sons and his first son, Er marries Tamar. Er was evil and God terminated him. In these days it was the custom for the deceased’s brother to marry the widow or at least have relations with her that would result in the birth of an heir. Son number two would fail to ‘submit’ to this practice and as a consequence, God concluded his life as well.
Judah goes into panic-mode not wanting his last son to die and tells Tamar to go home to her father’s house and wait for son number three to grow up. To his disgrace, Judah does not uphold his end of the bargain, which results in Tamar taking matters into her own hands. She dresses [as] the whore and Judah, not knowing who she is, winds up having relations with her. Consequently, Tamar becomes pregnant and Judah’s livid response is recorded in Genesis 38:24.
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3
It is an ironic thing how we classify our sins as being more dreadful and appalling when we discover somebody else doing them. An outraged Judah spotlights his daughter-in-law’s sinful behavior while likely not even recalling his own, making his reaction both hypocritical and pathological. His performance reminds me of this confrontation between Nathan and King David regarding the Bathsheba incident in 2 Samuel 12.
Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 2 Samuel 12:1-5
Our capacity to recognize sin [in others] is directly proportionate to what extent that particular sin dwells within us, so much so that the more fervently annoyed a person behaves is indicative as to the degree they likely struggle with the same issue–the more volatile the fury (the brighter the spotlight as it were), the more apparent the sin in that person. When this reality is acknowledged, all parties can profit.
Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb. And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” Genesis 38:27-28
What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘Amazing Grace’? Has it become so oft used that it is almost cliché? I suggest to you that this Biblical passage puts God’s grace back into it’s proper perspective, for when we recognize what’s happening here we will all assert that God’s grace is uniquely amazing.
God will take this event; i.e. Judah having a sexual relationship with his daughter-in-law Tamar, resulting in the bastard-child Perez and will forever connect them to His Son. It’s true: Judah, Tamar, and Perez are forever linked to Our Lord and Savior through His genealogy recorded in Matthew 1:1-17. If that’s not unmerited and undeserved favor, I do not know what is–amazing grace indeed! Just imagine what our gracious God can do with our mistakes when we submit ourselves to Him.