Monday, March 14, 2016

Why would God put despicable stories in the Bible?

We do despicable things. For instance Judah the son of Israel failed to provide a husband for Tamar. She was widowed and custom was that a brother-in-law was obligated to “raise up an offspring” for his deceased brother so his widow would not be destitute. Tamar waited for Judah to make good on this obligation but it never came so she took things into her own hands. She dressed like a prostitute and waited where she knew Judah would pass by. Judah was trapped, thinking she was a prostitute he slept with his own daughter-in-law. Tamar tricked Judah and took some of his personal belongings as a pledge for payment and then went home. When she was discovered pregnant Judah was outraged and decreed that she should be burned as a harlot. But when she showed him the personal belongings she took from him he quickly changed his mind. You can read the Biblical version of this story in Genesis chapter 38.

Next we have a lady who was a prostitute, and she was a traitor to her king. Her name was Rahab and she lived in Jericho. Her city had come under attack by Israel and they had sent spies into the city to gather intelligence. The spies almost got caught if it wasn't for the prostitute traitor Rahab. She hid the spies from the kings men searching for them, she misdirected them lying about when they left and where they were going. She also helped the spies escape, but not before making a deal with them to allow her and her family to be spared in the coming destruction of her city. You can read the Biblical version of this story in Joshua chapter 2.

A third story I will tell. There was a beautiful lady named Bathsheba. She was married to one of the king's generals. One day the king happened to catch a glimpse of her taking a bath. He wanted to sleep with her. So he did what any king would do and invited her over and seduced her with his kingly charm. Trouble occurred when the king discovered that she was pregnant. His general was away at war so the king had to think quick. He ordered the general back home for a report, and then tried to get him to go sleep with his wife. But the general wouldn't do it. He told the king it wouldn't be fair for him to enjoy his wife while his comrade in arms were waging war in the battle field. What was a king to do? It became evident to the king that he would have to put his general down. He ordered his other general to place this one in the heat of the battle and then withdraw. He even sent that order by the had of the general who was to die. You can read the Biblical version of this story in 2 Samuel chapter 11.

Why would God put these despicable stories in the Bible?

Each one of these women are listed in the genealogy of Jesus. God could not remove the consequences of their actions and decisions. But He could still use them for His own purpose. The birth of Jesus was unique. He was born of a virgin. Never happened before and has never happened since. But there were stories, despicable stories. One goes like this. Mary his mother was raped by a Roman solder and was afraid to speak up (since it was most likely consensual) so that is why she made up the visit from the angel and virgin birth. When people would look at the child Jesus they would think “poor bastard”. These kind of rumors persisted and grew especially as Jesus became popular. Although the rumors were despicable and lies, they weren't any worse than the truth from his genealogy. Each one was considered noble and worthy of honor by the Jews. Each one in spite of their actions had the honor of being the progenitor of Jesus the Messiah.

Couldn't God have used better stock? Why did He have to use such dysfunctional people? As it turns out no not really. There isn't any better stock. We are all dysfunctional people.