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In our reading today in Genesis 38:12-19, we see a considerable period of time which two events occurred which set the scene for Judah to depart even further from the faith of his fathers. Already Judah had left his brothers and formed an alliance with Hirah. He had married a Canaanite and produced three children, two so wicked that God had to remove them. In time, Judah's Canaanite wife, whose name is never mentioned, passed way. In a sexually-perverted society this placed Judah in a vulnerable position. Also, Shelah grew up to take Tamar as a wife to raise up children to Er, the eldest brother. But while Tamar was officially regarded as the wife of Shelah, the marriage was never consummated, for Judah had never given Shelah to Tamar.

Judah, along with his companion Hirah, went up to Timnah to shear the sheep. And so Tamar new that and signaled her to set into action a plan to provide a son to carry on the name of her first husband. Since Judah was unwilling to risk the loss of his last and only living son, Tamar determined to force the matter, becoming pregnant by Judah. And in this, Judah was wrong in withholding Shelah, but so was Tamar by taking these matters into her own hands.

Genesis 38 demonstrates that there are real consequences for sin, because God puts Judah's two oldest sons to death because they are wicked, a reminder of the seriousness of sin as much as God is gracious and forgiving, He also punishes the wicked. Genesis 38 shows both of these aspects of God's character. When this encounter ends Judah and Tamar goes their separate ways. Judah never knew the identity of the “prostitute,” and Tamar went back to her normal routine, living as a widow in her father's house.

The first lesson we learn from this is that the family was under attack, as the church is today, on two major fronts. The first is in the area of purity and separation. Judah eagerly committed the sin for which he put an entire city to the sword. He married a Canaanite and would have had sexual relations with a cult prostitute. Today our children are facing incredible pressure to conform to the world around them. Separation from the world is important as far as friends that we choose are concerned. As Judah slipped away from his family, he entered into an alliance with Hirah, a man who was always present when Judah got into trouble. It is the apostle James in James 4:4 who wrote so long ago, You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? The second front in Satan's attack on the family and the church on unity and brotherly love. Joseph's brothers had no brotherly love and no essential unity.

Secondly Fidelity is the virtue of consistency. It is the basis for reliable thought, reason, morality, trust, and loyalty On the other hand, morals are concerned with what people believe to be right and good conduct, and are transmitted from generation to generation, evolving and being reinterpreted for each age. With This understanding of what is right and wrong in human conduct is then taught to us by our families and church,

Thirdly, and without going further to the story, the effects of Judah's deep sin, plus the example of others, plus the hidden hand of God that had been at work, so that at the end of his father Jacob's life, Jacob would confirm Judah as the scepter-bearing tribe through which would come the one to whom “shall be the obedience of the peoples” (49:10b). What surprises spring from changing grace! By God's grace Judah had become the man. What a marvelous testimony to God's grace, and the truth that God forgives past sins and brings new life! It also shows God's faithfulness to His promise. Despite Judah's dishonorable behavior in lying to Tamar and visiting a prostitute, God still blessed him with descendants that would be in the line of King David as well as the Messiah.

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Lavington United Church was founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) as a community church to minister to the Lavington community. <<Read full History>>

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