2019-04-08 Can You Just Forget That?

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Proverbs 13:10

I’m sure most of you will find this hard to believe, but I was a “juvenile delinquent.” Yup, that’s right. I smoked cigarettes, drank booze, smoke pot, and skipped school regularly. In fact, in November of my Junior year in high school, I “missed” 16 days. My mother was certain I would never graduate. She was wrong, but not because she didn’t know better. The Lord took me out of that environment and put me in another. This radically changed the course of my life.

At first, it’s likely my mother may have been suspicious about my friends. At some point my friends’ mothers certainly became suspicious of me. Who could blame them? “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33) That was my crowd. Sure, I started off innocently enough, but it wasn’t long before I was one of them.

I ran into a name of a guy in the bible yesterday that got me to thinking about all this. I read Ruth in my bible plan. What a cool story! This followed on the heels of Joshua that had another interesting lady: Rahab. As you may or may not know, there are only three female names listed in Jesus’ genealogy: Ruth, Rahab, and Tamar (in reverse chronicle order, Matthew 1). Ruth was a Moabite that should not have been in the Jewish line because she was a forbidden, foreign woman. Same with Rahab. In fact, she was a prostitute! Both these chose to follow the God of Israel and were eventually folded into the Jewish nation. Tamar was the daughter of another forbidden marriage. In this, I found today’s lesson.

You see, Tamar was married to a son of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. You may remember the story. Tamar’s husband, Er, Judah’s eldest son, was killed by the Lord because Er was wicked. She had no son (perhaps no daughter either). According to Jewish law, the next son was to take her as wife so that the dead husband’s line would continue. Well, Onan didn’t want to have a child with her, so he had all the fun but stopped short of his duty. This displeased God, so the Lord put him to death as well. That left one remaining son of Judah, Shelah. Judah feared for Shelah’s life, so he sent Tamar away with the promise that he would give her to Shelah when the boy became a man. Apparently, Judah never intended to keep that promise.

So, the story goes that one day Tamar dressed as a prostitute when she knew Judah was in town. Judah hired her for the price of a goat, not knowing it was Tamar. Laughably, he didn’t have a goat on him but gave her an IOU in the form of his staff, cord, and signet ring. He did try to make good on this, but she disappeared. Well, she became pregnant, and Judah ordered her burned alive because she had immoral sex. I guess Judah didn’t think his own sex life was problem. His three children were from a forbidden woman. Hiring a prostitute certainly isn’t endorsed by God. But none of that mattered with regard to Tamar until she proved that Judah was the one who got her pregnant. Guess what then? All the charges were dropped. Why? Because, as he said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” Nice.

Anyway…… I noticed something in this story that I hadn’t noticed before. It’s very interesting the detail the bible gives us that goes unnoticed until God reveals it. For me, I noticed a name – Hirah. This fellow shows up three times in the story.

Genesis 38:1-3 It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and turned aside to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. He took her and went in to her, and she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er.

Sounds like a story of wine, women, and song, if you ask me. Now, Judah knew there was precedence against being with a Canaanite woman through his great-grandfather, Abraham, who insisted that his son NOT take a Canaanite woman to be his wife. So, Judah goes into town, partied with a guy he had no business being with, met a woman he had no business being with, and got her pregnant. Nice job.

Hirah comes in the picture again many years later. Check it out.

v. 12 In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

Can you picture drunken cowboys with a paycheck? Apparently, they created quite a commotion because Tamar heard about it. That’s why she dressed as a prostitute, to lure Judah. She must have known his character well because, sure enough, he hired her. Wow.

Hirah shows up one more time.

v. 20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her.

This whole story is only thirty verses long, yet Hirah has three active scenes. None of them were good.

I’ll bet Hirah wishes his name wasn’t written in the bible. I’m glad mine isn’t because it could very well end up like Hirah’s. Ouch! My name is in another book, actually TWO books that are mentioned in the bible. There’s bad news in this, but there is also very GOOD news!

Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they have done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Thank you, Father, that my name is in the book of life. What can I say? The lake of fire is what I deserve, yet you have mercy on me. Thank you.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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