Thursday, December 7 – Genesis 38:16-19

Dec 6, 2023

So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me have relations with you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may have relations with me?” He said, therefore, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” She then said, “Will you give a pledge until you send it?” He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and had relations with her, and she conceived by him. Then she got up and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow’s garments.


When working with a puzzle, it can be hard to look at one piece and immediately see how it will fit with the rest. Some pieces are not clear until most of the puzzle is complete. This story of Tamar is one of the pieces of Scripture that is hard to see and understand when isolated. That is why it is important to look at the larger context. This story of Tamar falls right in the middle of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Judah was one of Joseph’s brothers; the one meant to carry on God’s covenant of multiplication after his older brothers had been disqualified. The placement of the story is no accident, as it sits with God’s work of redemption through Joseph even in the most desolate places: a pit, slavery, and prison. God’s redemption is summarized in Joseph’s words in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.”


Throughout the book of Genesis (and the whole Bible), God used what was meant for evil for His purpose and His good. This story of Tamar is difficult to read and understand but when we focus on the story in the larger context of Scripture, we see God’s faithfulness, redeeming the most broken situations for His glory. This is the work God has always done, and He is ready to do the same work of redemption in your life, to reconcile you to Him, to fill you with His Spirit, and to be strong in your weakness. Your life may feel messy, but your messiness is not something foreign or scary to God. He is ready to restore what has been broken once again when you come openly to Him.


  • When have you seen God redeem a broken situation in your life?
  • What are some areas of your life you need to see God’s work of redemption now?
  • Pray and confess the broken areas of your life to God and ask Him to do His work of redemption in your life.
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