A friend just sent me the funniest picture of a t-shirt. It said, “Somewhere between Proverbs 31 and Tupac…there’s me.” (FYI: Tupac was a gangsta rapper.) I chuckled out loud and then a Bible study I did in the ladies jail a few years ago came to mind. It would be titled, “Somewhere between Tamar and Mary…there’s Me!” With it being the Christmas season, I thought it might bless a gal or two if I shared it here with you. Feel free to SHARE!
We ladies are hard on ourselves. We really are. We live in a crazy world at the moment. With soooooo much access to social media, we get to see a “side” of our friends (and total strangers, I might add) that we just didn’t know about a few short Snap-free years ago. I am guilty. I often start to post a spontaneous adorable picture of my grandgirls feeding the horse then stop in my tracks until I can get the big pink hairbow back into #3’s hair. Why? Why do we need to present ourselves as though we ALWAYS have it together? Jesus loves us…hairbow or not. Which brings me to Tamar and Mary…
In 2007, I was reading through the book of Matthew (KJV) when something just JUMPED off the page at me. When we start reading in chapter one, we realize we are reading the lineage of Jesus. You know, all the “begats.” We read about the illustrious patriarch of Jesus and BOOM… verse three, “And Judas (Judah) begat Phares and Zara (twins) of Thamar (Tamar); and Phares begat…” Wait? Why did you mention Phares’ momma???? Then as I keep reading I am mesmerized by the fact that there are FIVE wives/mommas listed in this group! Forty-two men are named and only five women. That got my attention big-time. Why these five? What was so special about them?
- Tamar – Well, lest just say this conception was worthy of an HBO mini-series. In Bible culture, when a woman’s husband dies, if she has had no son to take care of her, she is given to his brother to marry so that she can be taken care of. (Women are not CEO’s of companies in Middle Eastern Bible times.) Tamar married Er. He was so sorry, that the bible says in Genesis 38:7, “And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.” WHAT? God killed him? You’ve got to be pretty sorry for THAT to be the epitaph on your gravestone. “Here lies Er…God killed him.” So, Tamar was given to Onan, Er’s younger brother. He refused to get her pregnant (fairly graphic details, see Genesis 38) so, yep! God killed him, too. Wow! Poor Tamar, she sure had sorry luck with husbands. That left one last brother, Shelah. Shelah’s momma was not about to give her baby boy to the Black Widow. Nope, not doing it. So Tamar hid out at her daddy’s house until she realized they weren’t going to let her marry Shelah. She decided to take matters into her own hands. Tamar dressed as a harlot (hooker, prostitute, loose gal…you get the picture) and hid out until Judah (her father-in-law!) passed by and she tricked him into getting her pregnant. (You seriously need to go read the whole story…amazing.) So Tamar, listed in the line of Jesus tricked her father-in-law into getting her pregnant. It turns out to be twins. One of which turns out to be Pharez, Jesus’ great, great, great, etc. grandfather. So that means one of Jesus’ grandmothers played the part of a prostitute she wanted a baby so badly. Wow!
- Rahab – Well, she didn’t “play” the part of a harlot…she WAS a harlot! A card-carrying prostitue! And she is the next woman listed in Jesus’ lineage. Seriously, I’m worried about whether of not there is dirty laundry in the back of my Instagram post because I am afraid of what the world will think about me and here the Savior of the world has ALL of His dirty laundry on display! Rahab was the woman who hid the spies who went into Jericho to spy out the land for Joshua. The spies hid there because the people of the city were used to watching strange men come and go out of Rahab’s house. What they didn’t plan on was that she had more courage than most of those demure ladies of Jericho. When she learned of Israel’s plan, she asked the spies to save her house and all those lodged inside safe. They formed a plan devised straight out of a James Bond movie and she was able to protect her entire family. History says that Salmon, the man Rahab ends up marrying, just happened to be one of those spies. Do you know who Rahab’s son is? Boaz. Yep! THAT Boaz. The most noble man in all of Bethlehem-Judah who ends up marrying Ruth.
- Ruth – So far, out of all Jesus’ grandmas this one doesn’t seem so wicked. Perhaps not to us, but to the those living in her day? She was an outcast. She was a foreigner. She was a Moabitish woman. She was one of Israel’s sworn enemies. Her people were vile and did unimaginable things. You get embarrassed because you come from a long line of red-necks? Oh, girl! Your bunch ain’t got nothing on Ruth’s people. They were absolutely the lowest of the low. And yet, God caused her to catch the eye of Boaz. You think maybe he had more compassion on an outcast because his momma had raised him not to look down his nose at other people. She KNEW what that was like. To be considered unworthy? Nope. I just don’t believe she allowed Boaz to be racist. He grew up looking at the good in people. And boy did he find it in Ruth! Ruth was Kind David’s great grandmomma. I bet he LOVED to go to her house. She told the best stories ever…
- Bathsheba – She is listed as “her that had been the wife of Uriah.” I am very curious as to what her REAL name was. We know that “Bathsheba” means the woman who was taking a bath. Has one event in your life left you labeled forever? Notice the Holy Spirit does not call her “Bathsheba”…He knows that’s not WHO she is. That may have been WHAT she did. But it didn’t have to be her legacy. (For those of you who are not Bible students and may not know her story. She was very beautiful–something the Bible only calls three women. She was taking a bath on her rooftop–that’s where the tubs were located to catch the rain water. King David did not go out to battle when ALL the able-bodied men of the kingdom went. She had NO WAY of knowing there were any men left in the palace. The palace set high above the village. He could have looked down upon her any given day. But this particular day he saw her. He called for her–he’s the King–you do NOT refuse to appear before the King. He had sex with her and gets her pregnant. He has her hubs, Uriah–a good guy–killed and he marries her. That baby dies. They end up having another baby. His name is Solomon. Yep, THAT King Solomon!) Back to her legacy. King David has dozens of wives. Scuds of kids. It’s just HOW they did it back then. But out of all his wives and all his sons, Bathsheba raised the wisest man that ever lived. Solomon. You think that maybe, she took her time to instill some wise words in that little boy of hers?
- Mary – Finally! Someone with a little virtue to her! We ALL know about Mary. She was a virgin. She had kept herself pure. I doubt that she was the ONLY virgin of her day. So what made her so special? I think it had to be her spirit! Luke chapter 2, the quintessential “Story of Jesus’ Birth” tells us that when the angel spake to Mary about having the son of GOD (let that sink in!), she took it very personal and serious. She was able to think on God’s message and keep it close to her heart until the time came for her to share the Good News with the whole world! Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” She delivered the little Boy who eventually delivered her!
I think it is very telling that the Holy Ghost chose to share these five women who had a part in the very first Christmas ever. Just like that t-shirt my friend sent me a picture of, I think I fall somewhere in between Tamar and Mary. I think HE wanted us to know no matter what deep dark secrets may be in your past, you, too can be a part of the wonderful story of Jesus. We can’t have a part in His first coming, but we certainly can do our part in sharing His second coming!
Ladies, let’s do our part to instill the mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, and acceptance that Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary were shown and that we have been shown to OUR CHILDREN! You never know who we are raising in our home? Another Boaz or Solomon? Let’s strive to be more like Mary even when we feel more like a Rahab at times.
This Christmas may you ponder Jesus in your heart just like Mary did. And by the way, you can quit asking…Yes! Mary knew! 😉
Merry Christmas, Ladies! May all our stories bring God glory. But let’s not stress when some of our “dirty laundry” shows…He knows the real us…and loves us anyway!