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Thursday, December 8

Day 11: Tamar

Disclaimer – This story deals with a lot of sexual issues, but this devotional is very censored. Read the story on your own (Genesis 38) and choose what details you’d like to include, or keep it vague and G rated by reading below.

Open item: Empty

Have your children go to open it as if something is inside. Have them look again only to realize that there is in fact nothing inside. Admit that you tricked them, and then ask how that feels.

6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death.


Tamar is among one of the few women noted in the Bible in Jesus’ family. Her story is not normal. It’s actually rather strange and kind of gross. 

Tamar was married to a bad man. She didn’t choose him. She was chosen for him, and he was wicked. When he died, Tamar was then passed to her husband’s brother who was also wicked and then died. After this, Tamar was seen as “damaged goods” or maybe even “bad luck” and was left to figure out how to survive on her own–something women were not able to do then.

Tamar surely felt alone and scared. She had been tricked and sinned against, and no one was doing anything to make it right. 

So she decided to do a bold thing and take the situation into her own control. 

Tamar lied and chose to commit adultery. 

Is it ok to choose to sin because someone else has sinned against you? This one is hard to answer, isn’t it? 

It was wrong that those around Tamar chose to sin against her, BUT it was also wrong that Tamar chose to sin even in trying to make things right. 

God DID redeem those actions, though, even still. He used her to open the eyes of those who were very unrighteous.

In the end, everyone in this story needed God’s grace.

When we make bad decisions, God is kind and forgiving. He allowed sinful and victimized people like Tamar to be Jesus’s great, great, great, great (you get the idea) grandparents, and we can trust He has good plans for our lives too! 


Final Words

It can be so hard to be kind when others are not kind to us. In our culture, it is celebrated to stand up and take what is ours no matter who gets in the way. While God does call us to have a voice–by speaking the Truth in love–he never tells us it’s ok to sin, even when the other person seems to deserve it. Regardless, God placed Tamar in this crazy strange and rather icky story for HIS family! Doesn’t that give us all hope for our crazy strange families? Tamar and her family were all sinners who needed to be saved from their sins just like us! Jesus is coming!