I'm reading Genesis 38 over and over again this morning and I see so much of modern culture in the account of Tamar. While Joseph is off in Egypt Judah is living the life of a rascal. He is married but has a girlfriend in a village. He has children with this woman and all kinds of intrigue follows.
Tamar marries one of Judah's sons but that man dies and the culture of sleeping around continues. The scriptures are quite graphic in their description of deception and sexuality.
The account makes me think of this passage...
"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." - Matthew 5:31-32 ESV
Not a passage often preached on by 'grace preachers'. It seems to forbid remarriage. It doesn't. It uncovers the reality of what broken relationships can do.
If you read Genesis 38, and I suggest you do, you will see that Tamar has needs and the double standard in her culture puts her in a difficult situation. She used her sexuality to get what she needs and what everyone knew she deserved in that culture. Was it right? No. But Judah set an unjust standard and everyone became a victim of his compromise.
The women in our culture need men to be men. It is easy to condemn a person for their loose ways but what made them that way? Nor should a husband who is married to someone who was married before condemning his wife for bringing what 'was' into what 'is'.
"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." - 1 Peter 3:7 ESV
She has battle scars. Respect her. Love her. The hard hard world hurt her and she had to adapt. Be a covering and a friend. She is on loan from a God who cherishes her.
Jesus paid for all sexual sin on the cross. He died for the victims and for the people who caused a wild west culture.
As men let's look at Judah and Joseph and make wise choices. Who will we be?
"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away." - Proverbs 6:32f ESV