Friend, your hope will not be cut off! This is actually a “part two” to my previous article, “The God of Hope Will Restore You!” I began by introducing a scripture out of Genesis chapter 4. Adam and Eve had suffered the loss of their son, Abel, who was killed out of jealousy by his brother. It was a devastating blow to their family and the future generational line of the coming Messiah. God had to do something to insure their hope would not be cut off! Whenever death, loss and devastation try to claim a person’s hope, God has another plan. Whenever grief and disappointment want to overwhelm a person’s emotions, God has another plan. Whenever jealousy and anger rise up to kill off a person’s hope for the future, we can rest assured that God has another plan. In verse 25, the scripture reads, And Adam knew his wife again and she bore a son and named him Seth, (saying) “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”
delved into this subject briefly in the previous article. The subject
of this article is more focused on the scandalous side of God, and how
He will seemingly break all the rules just to restore a person’s hope
and future. He did it in the case of Tamar. She was an unlikely
candidate for a breakthrough.
What is amazing about this next story is that God was willing to
disregard something considered taboo in order to give this tenacious
woman hope for her future.
The story of Tamar is found in Genesis 38. Something that is taboo is
considered absolutely prohibited or forbidden by social or customary
beliefs, tradition or law. It is something considered absolutely
improper or unacceptable, and breaking a taboo will definitely cause
strong personal reactions. This is what Tamar did, and God honored her
for it, so let's take a look at why.
is an aspect of God’s character people may not stop to think about and
many probably don't like. They would say it doesn't fit with their ideal
that God has to "play fair." But God's standard of "fair and just" is
not based on human standards or opinions. It is based on His ability to
see every aspect of the situation, taking everyone's heart, motive and
actions into consideration. He takes into consideration everything the
enemy has done. God is not concerned about offending people. Jesus
offended people all the time. We all need to be prepared for the chance
that God will do something to deliberately offend us at some point in
time. As I said, God can be pretty scandalous at times. Why He approves
some situations and not others is up to His judgment alone, but He is committed to restoring hope! When offense
occurs, a person will probably not be prepared for it, but how you handle
any offense is key to your own right standing in your relationship with
God and others. Jesus equated slander and evil speaking to a spirit of
murder, (Matthew 5:21). This is a spirit of Cain.
God is quite aware of those that speak with the purpose to slander
someone else's reputation or intentionally try to destroy their hope and
future. He knows what motivates people. Murder begins in the heart, and
we must each guard our heart and our mouth so that we don't speak the wrong things. Friends, let me tell you
something. If you give your heart and mouth over to this sort of
behavior you will not come into your promises. You can never expect God
to open the door to what He has for you if it comes at the expense of
destroying someone else's character. You cannot expect to come into your
promise land by the act of violence. (Read Ps. 44:3,4). God brings a
person in by His grace and His favor. If a person tries to take it by
force, it shall be their undoing. God will take from one person's
inheritance and give it to someone else more worthy. He took the talents
of one and gave them to someone else that would use them wisely. Esau
was another one that despised what he had been given and didn't really
want it until he lost it. What did he do then? He went on a rampage
trying to hunt down his brother so he could kill him. Esau was offended, but not enough to repent and really mean it.
As a result, he lost his inheritance forever and was bitter about it.
That bitterness caused him to pursue his brother with a vengeance. When
a person acts in a premeditated way to give themselves over to
deliberately conspiring to hurt someone else, they will have to deal
with God on that issue. But consider the fact that even though Jacob tried to take Esau's inheritance perhaps in a wrong manner, God allowed it. The Bible says that GOD CHOSE JACOB and hated Esau. The word 'hate' simply means 'not to choose.' Esau didn't choose to value his inheritance, so God gave it to someone that would. Scandalous, huh? :-)
Offense can cause people to mistakenly ascribe a situation
to the working of the enemy, rather than recognizing that God is at work on a different level. Don't get all wrapped up in something because you think what is transpiring can't possibly be God’s plan. God will mess with your theology and value system! You don't always have to agree with God but you do have to keep yourself from touching what He's doing. Often how God works goes against what a person thinks they understand about God or His
word. That is the time when you really need to guard your heart against
being offended, because offense will always turn into rebellion if not
surrendered to God. Offense is often pride that feels self knows better
than God. Jesus challenged not only his disciples way of thinking, but
the religious and those with hard, judgmental attitudes as well. They
could not understand this God-man that was unsafe, uncontrollable and
unpredictable, but it was also the reason why they missed the time of
their visitation! I will say it again, “God
will break a taboo in order to personally see to it that the person HE
HAS CHOSEN to carry out a particular task is able to fulfill it. He will
disregard protocol, opinions and preferences of others so that those HE
HAS CHOSEN to bear His name are able to do what they were commissioned
to do. God will do just about anything to restore a person’s hope for
the future. God will always see to it that a seed of hope is there to
carry on the promise.” And
when the enemy tries to kill that seed of hope, God can be even more
inclined to seemingly break the rules that man thinks God should follow.
Expect Him to turn things upside down. Expect Him
to work outside of your understanding! He creates situations that will
show His glory, both in the vessels He has created for honor, and those
He has created for dishonor. His favor will shine on one while another
receives His rebuke. It often offends those that don't understand why He
is doing things a certain way. He won't fit in the box of anyone's
us get back to the story of Tamar. Tamar married the son of Judah,
whose name was Er. #1 son was wicked and the Bible says God killed him.
The custom of the day was that the next son in line would marry the
widow of his brother in order to make sure that a genealogical line
always had an heir of inheritance. Judah’s second son, Onan, was to
fulfill his brother’s duty of marrying Tamar and providing children as
the inheritance for his deceased brother. But son #2 was wicked also and
refused to honor what was expected of him, so therefore God killed him
as well. The third son, Shelah, was much too young to marry but Judah
deceptively convinced his daughter-in-law to be patient, and when he got
of age, he promised that the youngest son would marry Tamar and give
her children for her inheritance. Tamar put all her hope in this
promise, yet Judah had no intention of fulfilling his part of the deal.
Perhaps he became too afraid of losing another son. Both his previous
sons had died, and no doubt he blamed Tamar rather than the wickedness
of his own sons. But, eventually, Tamar came to realize the lack of
integrity to fulfill the vow and became desperate. By this time, she had
grown significantly older and her chances of marrying and having
children were slipping by. Tamar was spurred on by the injustice of her
situation and decided to do something about it. This where it gets really interesting.
is a God of justice, and it was the injustice that was put upon
innocent Tamar that caused Him to look on her situation aside from all
the legalities of the law. Tamar did the unthinkable: she took off her
robes of a grieving widow and posed as a prostitute. In disguise, she
invited her father-in-law, Judah, into bed with her. It was a deliberate
act to take what she felt she was entitled to, and she took it from the
one person that had stood in her way to block her from receiving her
inheritance. Remember, it was not only customary but it was her right to
expect the Levirate law to be fulfilled so that the family line would
be maintained . Tamar was desperate and was driven by a sense of
injustice. Judah had made a promise but was insincere towards fulfilling
it. As a result of her bold act of faith, Tamar conceived twins.
There was no way she was going to be able to hide what she had done.
When it was reported to her father-in-law that she was pregnant through
an immoral act, Judah commanded that she be brought out to be stoned for
her sin. Judah seized the opportunity rid himself of Tamar. Tamar,
however, presented the staff and the signet that identified Judah as the
father of her unborn children. Judah, when confronted with his sin, was
convicted in his heart and declared, “She has been more righteous than
I, because I did not give her Shelah my son.” What had been a private injustice was now known publicly.
Because God saw it all, He decided to bless her actions that were
birthed out of pain and injustice. Never let it be said that God does
not see or understand what happens behind closed doors. He knew what
Judah had promised, not just once, but twice, and He knew Judah never
intended to make good on his promise. God knew the injustice. He
understood what motivated both Judah and Tamar. Although it doesn’t sit
well with our concept of “righteousness” or even our understanding of
God’s word, GOD CHOSE TAMAR and put a blessing on her life. I am sure
that if we had lived in her day, many people would say she was not
worthy of the blessing she received. Many, including Judah, were
probably offended at the thought of Tamar and her actions. She lured her
father-in-law into bed under the guise of being a prostitute just to
get impregnated. Many might say that she should have received the death
sentence for her impropriety and unabashed, shameless way that she
conducted herself. It would have been customary to have her stoned.
However, this is not what what going through God’s mind or heart as her story was being played out! God always, always looks at the motivation of people's actions.
Man may judge by outward appearances but God looks at the heart. He
sees what is done in secret and what is conspired in order to deceive.
He knows why people do the things they do. God disregarded what was
taboo in the minds of others and gave her not just one child, but two: a
double portion. Twins were considered a special blessing from the Lord.
As she was giving birth, a midwife tied a scarlet thread around the
hand of the child that was about to be born first, because his hand had
already come out of the birth canal. (Zerah) had the scarlet thread
around his hand in order to mark him as the firstborn. Then the
unthinkable - and if I might add, what should have been physically impossible -
occurred. Take note: Some people are called to displace others in the
right of inheritance, but only GOD knows why. It is HIS right to choose.
The other twin (Perez) suddenly moved into place, displacing his
brother, and was born first. If you know anything about the tight
constriction of the birth process and having a child move into the birth
canal ready to be born, it would seem as though nothing would move that
particular child out of place. Yet, by the appointment of God, and the
perfect time and placement of God, this child came forth first and
became the one to inherit the promise. He became the child named Perez,
or breakthrough. Tamar was a Canaanite that became a heroine in the
Bible and in the lineage of the Messiah, despite where she came from and
the nature of her actions. She gave birth to a son named Perez, which
means breakthrough, and Perez was in the lineage of David. GOD CHOSE
TAMAR AND HE CHOSE PEREZ. What hope it gives to all of us! No matter
where you've come from or what you've done, God can put a special
blessing on your life, too. Did you know He has also chosen YOU?
are other instances of course, in which God intervened in the lives of
ordinary people simply to demonstrate who was chosen and who was not.
Take King David, for example. David was chosen while Saul was not. There
was a grave case for injustice there, too. Saul may have been first to
take the kingship, but he used his power and authority unwisely. He used
all his influence and all his resources to pursue and attempt to kill a
man that was more righteous than himself - all because of jealousy. Let
it be said that Saul was willing to sacrifice those on his side for the
sake of selfish gain. He cared not for their souls but used them in a
personal war of vengeance. Saul was afraid of losing his kingdom and
began to act out of fear and offense. Had he truly repented, perhaps his
story would have turned out different, but Saul was too proud to
repent. He could only pursue the person he saw as a competitor and try
to have him killed. (This is the spirit of Cain,
rising up again!). Because of the injustice, David prevailed and
inherited everything that belonged to Saul. Haman, too, and Esther,
prevailed against injustice and destruction aimed at the Jews and
inherited the house of their enemy. This is God’s position against
treachery and injustice. He moves the mountains of impossibilities to
make room for hope to be birthed again. What we recover is always more
than is what is lost.
are more examples. In the life of an adulterous woman caught in the act
and publicly shamed, Jesus became the exonerator and liberator. When
all the accusers were demanding justice and wanting this woman stoned
for her crimes, Jesus stood as a mediator and as a shield. He saw the
injustice and He intervened. Did it come against the norm of the day?
Yes. Did Jesus care if He offended people? Not one bit. A person others
saw as offensive and expendable received the blessing of protection and
forgiveness whether others thought she deserved it or not.
the most memorable of stigmas is the one that God allowed Mary, the
mother of Jesus, to carry. Out of the blue, an angel showed up to
announce God’s intention and His promise to a quite unsuspecting young
woman. May I add that this young woman was innocent of any and all
apparent transgression and yet still a virgin. She was considered
innocent not only in the eyes of God, but in the public eye as well - but,
once favor was bestowed upon her it didn’t seem to count for much in
the eyes of the public. Once it was spoken out loud, once the evidence
of God’s choosing and favor was upon her, Mary’s life was never the
same. She was chosen for a great privilege and had God’s favor, yes, but
to the world that was watching her life, all they could do was judge
her and find her guilty of immorality. They did not know she had a
visitation with an angel or that God had CHOSEN Mary. They wouldn't and
couldn't believe it anyway because it was too much for them to wrap
their head around. Mary became an outcast, yet she was chosen by God to
bear His promise. She, too, was almost stoned for a sin of adultery.
Mary was promised to marry a young man named Joseph, but even Joseph was
offended enough that he wanted to rid himself of her. He thought she
had been unfaithful. He didn't want to bear the shame of identifying
with Mary nor the offense he felt towards her. Joseph wanted to divorce
her privately until God gave him a dream and reassured him that Mary was
in fact innocent of transgression. God had to speak to Joseph to help
him understand that everything that was happening was really the plan of
God, then Joseph got on board with God's plan. Joseph had been hand
picked to protect and preserve not just Mary, but the promised Messiah.
What an honor! But it also brought great trouble. God had to resolve
Joseph's offense and troubled mind. God didn’t lift the stigma of false
judgment and accusation; He simply removed them from public view for a
season while the promise came to birth.
ask for much, but sometimes I wonder if we truly realize what it will
cost. What is the stigma we must bear for God's promise coming to pass in our life? The spirit of Cain and the spirit of death cooperate together to try to kill, steal and destroy our hope for the future. Hell will always be unleashed to destroy the prophetic promise before it can come to birth, but even in those cases we have a hope that will not be cut off. God has a plan to bring it all to completion."For I know the thoughts I think about you," says the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11).
is the God we serve; a God that isn’t safe, predictable and not able to
be controlled. This is the God that loves us so incomprehensibly and so
dearly that He is willing to break what is considered taboo just to
bless us and give us hope for our future. He doesn’t care who it offends
as long as we continue to have hope, knowing that He will never leave
us or forsake us. He sets things right. And when the enemy comes to kill
the plan or promise of God, He has a seed waiting that will spring
forth and bear fruit to birth HIS promise at the appointed time. It is already appointed and set in place. Dear one, your hope will not be cut off. God sees. He understands, and He has a plan with all of this in mind. This is the God that loves you.