28 November 2021 PM – Genesis 38 – Ge2021 – Scott Childs
Introduction: The narrative of Genesis 38 probably began shortly before Joseph was sold to Egypt. Judah was 2-3 years older than Joseph. He must have married as a teenager before Joseph left home.
Though the details of this chapter are unsavoury, God placed them in the Bible to help us see sin’s consequences. God wants us to learn from the sinful mistakes of people in the past so that we can avoid sin’s consequences.
Mel Trotter, the famous rescue mission worker, was the son of a bartender who “drank as much as he served.” Trotter followed in his father’s footsteps, losing job after job because of his addiction to drinking and gambling. Each time he lost a job, he promised to reform and start doing better, but each time he failed. After the death of his baby son, Trotter made his way to Chicago where he intended to drown himself in Lake Michigan. He had sold his shoes to get money for another drink, and was walking barefoot through the snow toward his death when he went inside the Pacific Garden Mission and was saved. For the next forty years, Trotter did everything he could to help those like himself who had fallen prey to the deceptively alluring temptations of sin. Man with a Mission: Mel Trotter and His Legacy for the Rescue Mission Movement, Leona Hertel
Galatians 6:7-8. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Sin always brings harsh consequences.
Transition: As we circumspectly step through the sins of this chapter, ask God to place a fear in your soul and a purpose in your heart that you will not be deceived by similar temptations.
1. Judah married an unbeliever (v.1-5)
a. He married Shuah a Canaanite
1) Where was Jacob when his sons needed help finding wives? Abraham and Isaac both helped their sons find wives from among “professing” believers. Jacob failed.
2) Judah “saw” a daughter of Hirah and took her to wife. He saw her beauty, not her character. We have no reason to think that she had faith in God.
3) She bore three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah.
b. Marrying an unbeliever is never right
1) Dad and Mum, you need to protect your children and help them long before it comes time to find a spouse. Start preparing them when they are young. Teach them to save their heart and body for their spouse. Teach them to value character over beauty.
2) Young people, do not be fooled by beauty and charm. Beauty will fade and character will come to the surface. Those who marry a spouse for his or her godly character are far more likely to have a stable, happy marriage.
2. Judah failed to pass on godly character (v.6-11)
a. In time, Judah took a wife for Er
1) Judah did help Er find a wife named Tamar, but we know nothing of her background. She was probably Canaanite.
2) Er was wicked and the Lord killed him (v.7). We do not know what he did. Perhaps he had learned evil religious practices from his pagan mother. Whatever it was, it was serious and God killed him. What a blow to Judah!
3) Passing on godly character takes love, sacrifice, time, energy and much prayer. When lacking, it hurts!
b. Judah told his second son Onan to marry Tamar.
1) Evidently, God had instructed Onan to marry Tamar and have children by her to carry on the family name of Er his brother (v.8). To us, this seems very unusual, yet God also required it of his people years later in the Law (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).
2) Onan did not want to father a child by Tamar that would be called after his brother’s name. He refused to obey what he knew God wanted. For disobeying, God killed him too (v.9-10). God takes disobedience very seriously. Would you be alive if God always killed those who disobeyed?
c. Judah asked Tamar to wait for Shelah’s maturity.
1) This may have been more of an excuse than a reality because he feared losing Shelah as well (v.11).
2) Shelah grew up and Judah never fulfilled his promise.
3) Judah knew he was disobeying God, yet he did not let Shelah marry Tamar. It is always a serious mistake to rebel against the Lord.
3. Judah yielded to sexual temptation (v.12-23)
a. Judah’s wife died and he was left alone
1) He went to visit his sheep shearers in Timnath.
2) He went with Hirah his friend. Hirah was not the kind of friend Judah needed. He was a Canaanite from Adullam as Judah’s wife had been. He aided Judah in his sin. Judah needed a wise friend who would help him stay close to God. Instead, he let down his guard against temptation.
3) Listen, you cannot trust unsaved friends to help you live godly. Build friendships with godly, wise people.
a) (1 Corinthians 15:33) “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.“
b) (Proverbs 14:7) “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.“
c) (Proverbs 13:20) “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.“
b. Tamar planed an evil plot
1) She was frustrated that Judah did not fulfil his promise to let her marry Shelah.
2) She dressed like a sinful woman, veiled her face, and waited by the roadside to entice Jacob (v.13-14).
3) Ladies, take note. The way you dress has a powerful effect on men. If you wear clothing, including swimsuits, that are tight, that reveal your upper legs, your low neckline, or your bare shoulders, you are tempting men to look at you with lustful thoughts. No godly woman should want to tempt men.
4) Judah yielded to the temptation of Tamar and was immoral with her.
5) She took his signet, bracelets, and staff as payment until he returned with a kid goat from the flock (v.18).
6) When Judah sent the kid goat to her, she was gone (v.19-21).
7) I believe the preacher was right who said the three most common times for temptation to attack. 1) When you are TIRED, 2) When you are TRAVELLING, 3) When you are TROUBLED. During those times, we must double our guard and meditate on God’s Victory Steps, James 4:7-10.
c. Judah’s sin shamed him
1) Tamar was pregnant with his child (v.24-26)
a) Tamar gave birth to twins (v.27-28).
b) She named them Pharez and Zarah (v.29-30).
2) Even in this sinful situation, we see the mercy and grace of God. God forgave the sin and allowed Judah and Tamar’s son Pharez to be in the family line of the Messiah.
(Matthew 1:3) “And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;“
3) God never overlooks sin, but he will ALWAYS forgive any sin when we repent and confess it.
a) (Psalms 86:5) “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.“
b) (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.“
c) Is there a sin in your life that you need to confess?
Conclusion: Sin always produces harsh consequences. Though the devil makes sin pleasurable for a season, we ought to fear sin. If you have unsaved friends, beware, they will lead you away from God. When you are tempted to disobey, do not be deceived. If sexual temptations lure you, flee youthful lusts. When you are tempted to dress immodestly, remember that others are watching, whom you may lead astray.
Like Judah, if you need God’s forgiveness, He is waiting with open arms to forgive you if you will humbly confess your wrong to Him. Covering sin never pays.