As I read Genesis, I’m struck by how many ugly stories there are, and how many involve women. Leah and Tamar come to mind. Leah got married to Jacob only through the deception of her father Laban. And as a result, she felt unwanted and unloved by Jacob. This is seen in the names that she gave her sons. (I’ve mentioned this in another post you can see here).
Tamar also felt unwanted and unloved. God struck her husband down because of how evil he was. His brother was forced by the customs of his day to take her as a wife, but he didn’t really want her, and so while he used her for his own sexual gratification, he wouldn’t completely consummate the marriage. God got really upset with how he treated her, and so he struck him down as well.
Then her father-in-law Judah lied to her, saying he would give her to his youngest son as his wife when he became old enough, but then later refused to do so. It seems as though Judah felt Tamar was bad luck because two of his sons died after getting married to her.
And so here is Tamar, unwanted and unloved by anyone. Finally, out of desperation, she pretends to be a prostitute, seduces Judah, and gets pregnant by him. Judah, when he finds out that she’s pregnant, hypocritically demands that she die, because horror of horrors, she has become a prostitute, ignoring the fact that he had just had sex with a prostitute three months earlier. It seems that Judah here, was in fact very glad to have a reason to get rid of this woman he really didn’t want around.
But then she stuns him by giving him proof that he was the one that impregnated her. And so he’s forced to admit his own wrongdoing, and lets her live. She then gives birth to twin sons.
But though Leah and Tamar were unwanted and unloved by the people around them, they were wanted and loved by God. It’s very interesting to me the grace that he showed both of them, by putting them into the family tree of Jesus.
You would’ve thought, first of all, that Jesus would’ve come through the family line of Rachel. After all, she was loved by Jacob, and Joseph, her son, was certainly the most righteous of all his brothers. But it was through Leah, not Rachel, that Jesus would eventually come.
And you’d hardly think that God would use Tamar’s ugly incident with her father-in-law to help bring Jesus into the world. But as you look at the genealogy of Jesus, that’s exactly what you see.
So what’s my point? You may feel unwanted and unloved in your life. Maybe your husband or wife had an affair, and they left you for another person.
Maybe you were abused by your father or mother when you were growing up. Or maybe you tried to gain your parents love and approval, but no matter what you did, you never could seem to please them.
Maybe you’ve been seeking a boyfriend or girlfriend, but while the people around you are getting married, you can’t seem to find the right person. You’ve dated people and have had your heart broken numerous times. You’ve given your heart and perhaps even your body to people, only to have them reject you in the end.
But though you may feel unwanted and unloved, God sees you and he does love you. He knows your name. He knows every detail about you. And though you’ve failed and you have sinned, he still loved you so much, he was willing to sacrifice his Son on a cross for your sin so that you could have a relationship with him.
No matter who you are, or what pain you’re feeling, God has a plan for you. And if you’ll just reach out to him, you’ll find that he’s been reaching out to you all along, waiting to heal all the pain and loneliness you feel in your heart, and to fill it with his love.
The LORD has appeared to us from afar saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3