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Week 5 – Concluding Thoughts on Genesis Chapter 38
Reading this chapter is the first time we’re introduced to the idea of a Levirate Marriage in the Bible. We do read about it later in Leviticus and in fact we see it mentioned in the book of Ruth where it’s more commonly known as ‘Kinsman-Redemption.’
The reason that kinsman redemption was an important part of Hebrew tradition is because it symbolized the coming Messiah Who would redeem His people from sin.
Tamar did everything right. She honored the Hebrew tradition, thus honoring God, maybe not in the way that we would do it, but in the only way she knew how. In understanding the law of kinsman redemption, we gain a better understanding of both this chapter and the story of Ruth.
Remember in the story of Ruth, there was a closer relative than Boaz that should have stepped up to marry Ruth. If he decided to pass on that opportunity, Boaz was free to marry her. And so, in Ruth chapter 4, we see the story unfold as Boaz approaches the nearest of kin:
“Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”
At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” (Ruth 4:5-6)
You see, if this unnamed relative were to marry Ruth, he would endanger his own estate. If he had children with Ruth, his estate would be divided between his own children and any that Ruth might have. Not only that, but the children who inherited a portion of his estate would be raised as Mahlon’s children to carry on the name of the dead. And so, we see that he held back, because of his own selfish desires.
In a similar manner, when Tamar’s husband died, anything that he owned was gone along with him. Anything passed down from his father Judah would have gone to her children, but since she didn’t have any children she was left destitute and alone. It was the responsibility of her in-laws to ensure that she was taken care of by giving her children. Onan was selfish, and Judah was irresponsible when it came to building the house of Israel. Redemption was costly, and they weren’t willing to pay.
Chapter 38 was a turning point for Judah, but it was just the beginning. As we see in this study, God continued to shape him as he allowed Judah to be tested and tried. Perhaps he wasn’t ready to give up his life in this chapter. He wasn’t the kinsman-redeemer we all hoped he might be, but later he would be, when he offers to lay down his life for his brother.
Week 5 – Concluding Thoughts on Genesis Chapter 45
Joseph was fully aware and accepting that every trial he went through was a part of God’s plan. Through faith he believed God was sovereign and wise. Looking past his own pain and suffering, he saw the mercy and kindness of God.
How many of us can say the same thing when we’re test and tried? How many of us truly trust in the sovereignty of God and His wisdom?
It wasn’t by accident or chance. Everything he went through was planned by God and for the good of his people.
God’s provision, His wisdom, and His actions excel that of man’s. His ways are not ours. Joseph wouldn’t have chosen that path for himself but on the other side of it all, he realized the good that was born from his suffering and pain. Remember Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Just hours before His death, He prayed,
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42, NIV)
Going to the cross was the only way to bring salvation to the world and so He willingly laid down his life to save ours. Just as Joseph’s life was planned out from beginning to end, so was the plan of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Perhaps the most famous verse in the story of Joseph is when he says to his brethren,
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
Look at these verses, paying careful attention to last part:
“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:26-28)
We see a parallel in both cases were God’s plan was accomplished through man’s hatred and sin. How every detail was planned, and that nothing was out of God’s hands.
We see Joseph as a type of Christ extending kindness and grace to his brethren. We see forgiveness that mirrors the compassion of Christ. We see a man who went before his brethren to prepare a place for them just as Jesus is preparing a place for us even now.
I’ve created some 8.5 x 11 high res images for you with some of the thoughts and verses from this study. I’ll have two of them for you each week, making a collection of 12 of them in total. Please click the images or the links below to view and print your copies.
Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are beautiful and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.
She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.
It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.
Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.
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You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife