Study from Genesis 37 – 38; Passage for Reflection: Genesis 38: 24 … NIV Judah said, “Bring her (Tamar) out and have her burned to death!”
My Journal for Today: It’s always interesting to me how the detail in the Bible, especially the stories of the Old Testament, can bring so much meaning and application into my life today. And here we have the rather bizarre story of Tamar playing the role of prostitute, lying with her father-in-law, and giving birth to twins, the older of whom is in the direct line of the Messiah. Go figure!
But the story and the focus verse for the day also illustrates a universal human sin weakness, … that of the double-standards we often exercise in the world where we judge others more harshly than we do ourselves; and we erect double standards of sin, being harsh and judgmental about the type of sin and yet very loose and excusing when it comes to sins we might commit more easily ourselves.
In today’s story we read of Judah being very judgmental to find and call out the “prostitute” with whom he had sex [who turned out to be his daughter-in-law, Tamar]; but excusing himself from the sin of lying with her. In Gen. 37 today I read the story [I hope you did too] of Jacob’s brothers excusing and covering up their own sin of selling Joseph into slavery, and even desiring to kill him. But before we judge the sons of Jacob or Judah in his hypocrisy involving Tamar, think about our own culture these days. How harsh we, as Christians, can be in judging the sexual sins of prostitutes and the lifestyle of homosexuals in our world; and yet, we will excuse our own gluttonous eating habits or a socially acceptable drug habit like tobacco use. And the church even becomes hypocritically involved as an enabler by having pot-luck dinners to celebrate some event in the church where the congregants bring food which Satan would applaud as the height of sin temptation. But do we call out the sinners, even ourselves, who overeat and treat God’s temple, the body He’s given us, with utter disrespect? I think not!
I know it’s an old adage, but we do need to remember that when we point a finger at another whom we feel is sinful, we have three fingers on our own hand pointing right back at ourselves. And F. LaGard Smith’s introspective application question at the end of his devotional today was as follows today: “What ‘respectable’ sin in myself am I overlooking as I pass stringent judgment on the ‘foul’ sins of others?”
Well, my dear one, you have to answer that one for yourself; but I confess – and I’m taking action to correct my own hypocrisy – my own laxity when it comes to my own gluttonous habits as well as my lethargy with regard to physical exercise are inexcusable. And both of these sinful habit patterns have led to my excusing my overeating and the avoidance of healthy life-building exercise. And so, by logging my commitments to repent and improve, as led by God’s conviction, I’ve been documenting daily 40 days of purpose at the outset of this new year in an attempt to be build Godly habits and to be accountable for my repentance to two groups in my life whom God has given me for such accountability.
I will pray below that all of us who read and study here can sense God’s calling on our lives to avoid hypocrisy and to hold up only one set of standards, HIS, when it comes to how we live our lives.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, may those of us who call ourselves “Christian” live in obedience to Your standards, and may we resist and repent of hypocrisy in our lives where we allow ourselves to become our own standard, living for self rather than our Savior. Amen