“A young woman named Tamar… she is more righteous than I am.” Genesis 38:6 & 26
In reading today’s Word of the Day I marveled once again at my namesake Tamar’s position in the text. Her chapter long story is quite the interruption of Joseph’s. And I queried God, “What about Tamar’s life was so important that it necessitated the interruption of the telling of Joseph’s?” His one word answer blew me away and brought me to tears. “Strength”.
Tamar’s life (or at least this part of it anyway) was filled with death, disappointment and utter betrayal. The men in her life that should have been protecting and providing for her; used and abused her. Her story characterizes the strength that we too can possess. Tamar could easily have been utterly destroyed by the circumstances in her life. She had TWO abusive husbands die on her. And yet, she didn’t. She stood strong and held her head high and fought for what was rightfully hers. The house of Judah owed her a child and she wasn’t about to be denied. Yes, the means that she was forced to use weren’t exactly smiled upon (then or now). Yet when what she had done came to light they went from calling her “harlot” to “righteous”. When everyone else around her had turned their backs, she stood up, took matters into her own hands and did what was RIGHT. And to do that she used a strength that none of the men around her were willing to impart. What Tamar did took GUTS. She literally risked her life to do what was right. And you know what the best part is? We all have benefitted from her display of intestinal fortitude.
When Jesus, the ancestor of Tamar, shared that we are to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) He pointed something amazing out; we’re supposed to love ourselves! For the last five months I’ve been studying Beth Moore’s book So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us and learning how to love myself so that I can better love others. Basically, I’ve been growing a backbone and learning how to stand up for myself. I’ve come to realize that by allowing others to take advantage of me I’m allowing them to hurt themselves in the process. By being a … how does Beth put it, a “puddle of spinelessness” and “flying into a fit of hysteria” I am benefitting no one but Satan and his cause to destroy us. However, when we stand with the strength of Tamar and do what is right in spite of our circumstances and in lieu of the cost (even to our very lives or livelihood as the case may be) then we benefit everyone around us including the kingdom of God!
In this last week I’ve been faced with several circumstances that have threatened strengthened my backbone and when I prayed about what to do, do you know what God said? “Sometimes you’ve just got to throw around some tables.” (Matthew 21:12-13)
Jesus was no shrinking violet! He was no wall hugger or passive bystander. He stood up for what was right and so can we.