September 3, 2018 by Kgalalelo
God can truly turn any situation around. Our problem is that we always want to know how He will do it and whether He would but with God we can never know the ‘how part’. I’ve tested this in my own life and I fall short every time. There are many situations that I have found myself in and didn’t know how I would escape but God delivered me in all of them. In Psalm 35, David says, if you rescue me Lord, “I will give you thanks in the great assembly”. David knew and had seen the goodness of God in his own life and when God rescues you, you pay homage to Him through praise giving and gratitude for what He has done for you.
David recognised that God deserved to be praised in public where everybody could see and hear. This is the short and sweet of it. He says “I will praise You among many people” (Psalm 35:18). This is the attitude that we all should adopt that when God demonstrates His goodness to us, the world should know about it. People are inspired by the testimonies of others. It makes it easy to cope in life if you know that you are not the only one going through stuff. Our lives and testimonies are not only for ourselves but for others as well, as through your testimony you can save someone’s life. Scripture says that “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
I was intrigued by the story of Tamar in the bible. It’s a short account that not everyone could easily notice as it’s not one of the most preached about sermon. Well, I have never heard anyone preach about her story before. It is found in Genesis 38. We know about Jacob and his sons, women like Ruth and Ester but Tamar’s storyline is not so much something you can write home about. Tamar was the wife of Er, the first born of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Er according to the bible was a wicked man and therefore God put him to death. He therefore, left his wife, Tamar, widowed and without children. It was customary in the culture of the Hebrews for the next son to fulfil the obligations of his brother and produce children for his brother by marrying his brother’s widow and so it was, Onan, the second born, married Tamar but not for long as he also committed a crime before the Lord and God put him to death as well.
Judah had the third son, Shelah, who was next in line to marry Tamar but fearing for his life, Judah sent Tamar off to her father’s house with the commitment that as soon as Shelah had grown she would be given in marriage to him but things never went according to plan. Shelah became a man but nothing was said about him marrying Tamar. So, it happened that when Judah’s wife died, he visited the city of Timnah to shear his sheep where Tamar was and when she heard about his stopover, she disguised herself as a prostitute and Judah approached her unknowingly. They spent the night and Judah gave her a gift for her services. In principle, Tamar tricked her father in-law into sleeping with her, fell pregnant and bore twin boys named Perez and Zerah.
Tamar was very desperate and what she did is considered despicable and shameful and can never be encouraged, however, out of the lineage of Perez, her first born twin, came the saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. She was supposed to have been executed according to custom but because the gift she had received for her prostitution belonged to Judah, her life was spared. Things turned around for her and instead of being extinguished, the messiah was brought through generations later. When you read the genealogy of Jesus, not only is Judah mentioned, but Tamar’s name features as well, as the mother of Perez and Zerah. Our lives are significant to God according to His purpose and plan for them. Jesus Himself disregarded the shame that came with the cross (Hebrews 12:2) in order to save all of us from our own sins.
Tamar and many other characters were exemplary to God’s grace on all of us. He takes the lowliest and detestable of all situations and turn them around. I was telling a colleague at work that when someone dies and someone chosen to speak about that person at the funeral and he speaks well about the deceased despite the public’s view of that person, the speaker is referring to the personal encounter with the deceased, that is, what the deceased meant to him and the good that he or she demonstrated to him when he or she was still alive. This is how God looks at all of us, He sees potential for redemption. Jesus said “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). He says again “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Mark 2:17). I’ve once heard a preacher conducting an altar call for people to receive salvation in Jesus and said ‘suppose you leave the church service and then die in a car accident, where will you spend eternity? If you receive Jesus now as your personal Lord and Saviour, and the next moment you die, you will go to heaven and receive eternal life no matter the lifestyle you’ve lived’.
I was shocked and denied it in my heart that, you can’t kill a person five minutes ago, receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour a moment after hearing the gospel and then go to heaven if you die a minute later; what about the lives of people you have killed and their loved ones who are mourning?’ It can’t be! This was my take for a very long time and I’m still challenged by it but if God is gracious and merciful, He can do it. The ‘former’ crime master can dine with Jesus the same moment of his death and Luke 23:42-43 testifies of this. When Jesus was crucified, two criminals were hanged on crosses together with him both on the sides, while one hurled insults onto him, the other said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Jesus answered him “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”. Matthew 5:45 further says God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”. He is faithful even if we are not (2 Timothy 2:13). He blesses whoever He wants to and His mercies are new every single day for everyone who receives them (Lamentations 3:22-23).
We are reminded throughout scripture and in everyday life that God doesn’t use the perfect to fulfil His mission, everyone has the opportunity to be acknowledged no matter what they have done. How many people in the world today are hiding because they don’t want to be seen, judged or condemned because of what they have done? There are many and society doesn’t make it easy too, it lashes out at every opportunity but what seems bad, God can turn it around for good. He can breathe life into any situation because He knows our hearts. We judge in the flesh but God knows better and more than we do about each other.
In John 8, the scribes and Pharisees had brought a woman who was caught in adultery to Jesus while He was teaching in the temple. They told Jesus that according to the Law of Moses such should be stoned and wanted to hear Jesus’ response in order to test Him. Jesus said to them “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”. Many where convicted by their conscience as they knew they had sins of their own and they left. Jesus gave the woman another chance to redeem herself and leave a clean life. He said to the woman, “I condemn you not, go and sin no more” (John 8:7).
Trust God today, to turn your situation around and breathe into it a new life full of blessings. His grace abounds everyday.
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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