Tamar – a Woman of Hope
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Monday 8th of March 2021: Tamar-a woman of hope
Bible Reading: Genesis 38 1-30
(Ruth 4:12 1 Chronicles 2:4)
Hello and welcome to a series of reflections this week that ponder on the lives of five biblical women chosen to celebrate International Women’s Day today. We hope we can all learn from the challenges they faced so many centuries ago, and become stronger, bolder, wiser, and more courageous ourselves.
Tamar’s story falls in the middle of the Genesis account of Joseph and his brothers. Tamar’s story is messy, but she is “a women of hope” .
Before you watch my reflections, I invite you to read the Bible passages and reflect on them yourself. “And when you pool your reflections with mine, we might find that, together, our insights become so much richer.”
You might like to pause the video now and do just that and read of Tamar in Genesis 38 1-30.
Tamar is passed as property from one man to another. At no point does Tamar have any choice or control. Her future is bleak as a childless widow. She has no social standing, nor the security of someone to care for her in her old age.
While emotional details are scarce, her story reveals a lot about her relationship with men who controlled her life. Tamar’s first husband is put to death by the Lord for wickedness. But being married to a wicked man and all the trials that come with such a marriage, was preferable to no marriage at all. And her father-in-law not only cheats her out of marriage but seems to have been a man of questionable morals. Tamar chose the disguise of a prostitute, implying she knew that Judah would be likely to use such services.
This is not a family anyone would choose to join willingly, but Tamar has few options so takes control of her own future through the only means she has. She has nothing to barter with, but her own body, and a capacity to bear children, so this is the way she provides herself with some security.
And yet this dysfunctional family is one that God has chosen to bless. Matthew’s Gospel recounts Jesus’s genealogies and there in verse 3 is Tamar.
She changes her life story from that of the desperate victim of circumstance to a woman who is praised for her righteousness by her family. Tamar’s story is difficult, but that is why it is so powerful.
The Bible does not edit out the difficult parts, just as we cannot edit out the painful, messy, and difficult parts of our lives. Because God is there in the difficulties, in the mess. He works through imperfect and flawed people like Tamar and her family, just as He works in our lives in both bad times as well as in the good.
It is easy to feel God with us and working through us when things are going well. But Tamar reminds us that he is also with us in the depths of our despair, in the lowest moments of our lives as well.
Tamar’s story does not belong in biblical times, she embodies the female experience of so many women around the world who live under oppressive political or social systems. But she also embodies that hope for us all, even in the worst times, God is with us and working through us.
A Prayer for International Women’s Day (8th March 2021)
God of all, God of hope,
we pray for women and girls today.
That they will be all they can be.
Give us courage to speak and work
for equality and justice.
Until the earth is filled
with righteousness and love.
!!Happy International Womens Day!!
I look forward to you joining us tomorrow when we will reflect on Rahab-a women of faith you can read about her in Joshua 2, 6.