Fbcsreadthruthebible's Blog

Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Be Alert

Luke 21    Genesis 38    Psalm 29

Two women play significant roles in today’s readings: Tamar (Genesis 38) and a poor widow (Luke 21:1-4). In differing ways, each woman proves to be a key contributor in the story of Jesus. It is Tamar, of course, who proves the more puzzling to us, for she lives under a set of customs that we find quite foreign (particularly that of the leverite marriage as spelled out in Deuteronomy 25:5-10, which was also the basis for the question posed by the Sadducees in yesterday’s reading).

While it may be tempting to see no value at all in Tamar’s story, two important details say otherwise. The first is Judah’s statement in v.26, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son, Shelah,” and the second is the reality that she and her firstborn son by Judah, Perez, are part of the lineage of David and, therefore, ancestors of Jesus (Mt.1:1-14). All this is to say that Tamar was a woman who, given the rules of the patriarchal society in which she lived, was alert to Judah’s insincerity and acted boldly to achieve justice. In the process, she became part of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.

As for the poor widow, she is offered as an example of faithfulness and spiritual leadership in contrast to the religious leaders of the day (see the sentences that precede the widow’s story, remembering that chapters are a later addition). Here is a woman who is truly ready to stand before the Son of Man (Lk.21:36)!

May we read the stories of these two women today with a new awareness of their contributions to THE story, and may we heed the word of Jesus: “So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36, The Message). Amen.

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