Thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, the chapters in Genesis this week are very familiar. As I was reading them, I couldn’t help but have the songs of ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dream-coat’ running through my head. The story of Joseph foreshadows the story of Jesus. Joseph was betrayed by those close to him, was tempted but didn’t sin, he was punished for sin he did not commit and subsequently rose to a position of power and saved Egypt, whilst showing forgiveness to those who had betrayed him.
Hiding amongst the familiar story of Joseph’s downfall and then rise to power, is the story of Tamar. Tamar was the wife of Er, Judah’s eldest son, but Er was ‘wicked in the Lord’s sight and so the Lord put him to death’. Judah’s other son, Onan, was then given to Tamar to marry her, but Onan did not want Tamar to conceive a son, because it would still be in his brother’s line. Onan displeased the Lord and so died as well. Tamar went to live with Judah, her father-in-law. She tricked Judah into thinking she was a prostitute, because she wanted to give birth to a son in Judah’s line. Tamar was sentenced to death for prostitution, but when it became clear that it was Judah who had slept with her, Judah released Tamar from the sentence. By reading the genealogy at the start of Matthew’s gospel, we read that Tamar was indeed an ancestor of King David, and subsequently Jesus. This story is a beautiful story of redemption. Tamar was vulnerable and taken advantage of, but God saw her and gave her a great honour – being in the line of Jesus, the Messiah.
The chapters in Romans this week teach us the place of the law in our discipleship. As Romans 3: 20 says: ‘No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.’ We cannot find salvation in works alone, but we are redeemed through having faith in Jesus Christ. Just like Tamar, we were brought into God’s family tree, by his goodness and grace to us. Therefore, in chapter 6, Paul exhorts the Romans to live in this new life we have received, rather than to go on sinning because grace will abound. So let us live in the hope of eternal life which we have received from faith in Jesus.
Some questions to help you read this week:
- Before interpreting dreams, Joseph first gave glory to God. Where do you need to give glory to God for the things you can do, as it is his gift for you?
- Joseph learnt humility and service when he was a slave and in prison, he made use of his time of waiting. Ask God if there is a way in which he wants you to make use of the season you are in right now.
- Take some time to thank God for the amazing gospel we believe in – that it is through faith, not works that we are righteous before God.