Look Who God Used


Scripture Reading: Genesis 38; Ruth 4:12; and Matthew 1:2-16 (SOAP – Ruth 4:12)

The Prayer of the Elders for Boaz and Ruth
12 And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah.” Ruth 4:12  NLT
The Genesis Saga: Judah’s Story

Judah, Jacob’s fourth son born to Leah, is the focus of today’s portion of Genesis. He marries, has three sons of his own, acquires Tamar as a wife for Er, his oldest son, and shortly after this he buries that same son. Now Judah requires his second son to fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to his brother’s widow, his son’s refusal -of sorts- brings death to him as well; soJudah – fearful that his third son would also die – sends Tamar away with the lie that when the son is old enough he will send him to her. If you haven’t read the story, you may want to – so that you don’t miss all the details I’ve left out. However, the real story comes when Tamar realizes that Judah has lied to her. Not only did he lose his two sons but he lost his wife as well. When Tamar learns that he is traveling near her she positions herself in his path – disguised as what Judah believed to be ‘a temple prostitute’, so he did not recognize her. Judah’s fleshly appetite overcomes him and he barters his very identity (his seal, cord, and staff) for sexual pleasures. You need to read the rest of the story but suffice it to say her plot worked and twins were born – Perez came out first then Zerah.


Ruth 4:12 is literally a one sentence prayer, but in conjunction with the story played out in Genesis 38 that one sentence carries a lot of weight. I wonder what you hear or see in your mind when you read the prayer. Do you see Tamar’s veiled face, as she played the prostitute along the roadside hoping to entrap Judah? Or do you hear Judah’s desperation fueled by his fleshly appetite for sexual pleasures. Perhaps you gasp when you realize that his desire was so great he pledged his very identity by giving her his seal, his cord, and his staff. Maybe you see Perez and can only think of how God used Tamar, the shamed, lied to, and embittered daughter-in-law who sought her own kind of justice … or is it the fearful father-in-law, Judah, who had lost two sons, protected the third, and having now lost his wife is so desperate for physical satisfaction that he literally and figuratively gives himself away.

There are so many things that can come to mind when we hear these names and recall their story – not exactly a love story for the centuries … or is it? We only have to read the genealogy recorded in Matthew to see that in some beautiful way it is the love story of God. Love that for the sake of fallen man led him to send His son to save the lost and dying world. Love, poured out in grace and mercy, that used the fallen of this world to play a role in the birth of that Savior.

From Abraham, the one chosen and called by God to be the father of a new nation, to Joseph, the husband of Mary, and all that were listed in between – none were perfect. Each man and woman and generation made their share of bad choices but God was always there – working all things together for the good of those who loved Him and were called according to His purpose – and this was JESUS. The sinless Son of God, sent to make a way where there was no way – sent through a human in human form – descended through Judah and Tamar. – Now this is love!


While we can see great beauty in this story – we must not miss the application of wisdom that says … learn to trust God and leave the outcome to Him – rather than take it upon ourself to fix what we see as wrong in our life or someone else’s. I battle this sometimes, do you? One of the things that helps me in the battle is reading through these genealogies. I love looking to see who God used – and always appreciate the fresh reminder that God uses whom He pleases to accomplish what He pleases – when He pleases. Again, as in our previous day’s journey we also see the importance of learning to choose God instead of the world is learning to walk by faith and not by sight.

God uses whom He pleases to accomplish what He pleases – when He pleases.

Me from the Insideout

Father, who would have believed that the actions of Tamar and/or Judah would have ever lead to something (Someone) so good? Yet, as Your Word allows us to see – not only did it bring about good – it led to life and light and hope for a world lost in sin and darkness. You, in Your goodness, take all things and work them together for Your glory and for the good of those who love You and have been called according to Your purpose. No scheme of man can thwart Your plan! In this there is great HOPE! – And in this HOPE I pray and trust – AMEN!

  • Have you faced a situation where you have felt the need to resort to desperate means to bring about God’s purposes?
  • How can you remain obedient to God even in difficult situations?
  • How can you trust Him today even if you are in the middle of a mess?
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