Thursday, October 6, 2016
Sisters in circumstance, conclusion
I'm hopeful that this week's study of Dinah and Tamar has sparked some thought, some insights, and perhaps been a call to action.
When we left Tamar, her brother had brought her to his home. If we keep reading in the chapter, we will see how he truly felt about the situation.
Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep were being sheared at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to a feast. 24 He went to the king and said, “My sheep-shearers are now at work. Would the king and his servants please come to celebrate the occasion with me?”
25 The king replied, “No, my son. If we all came, we would be too much of a burden on you.” Absalom pressed him, but the king would not come, though he gave Absalom his blessing.
26 “Well, then,” Absalom said, “if you can’t come, how about sending my brother Amnon with us?”
“Why Amnon?” the king asked. 27 But Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon. So Absalom prepared a feast fit for a king.
28 Absalom told his men, “Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him! Don’t be afraid. I’m the one who has given the command. Take courage and do it!” 29 So at Absalom’s signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled.
He actually didn't take it lightly, as we might have thought. He was angry, but he was patient. He waited for two years, and then came up with a plan to have Amnon murdered. So, Absolom was her kinsman redeemer. He "made things right" in the ancient way of thinking. He wanted to restore Tamar, and to vindicate her for the betrayal that she experienced.
Just as there are many parents, riddled with guilt for having allowed betrayal to happen, there are many "Tamars" in this world.
Who will restore them? Who will bring then out of desolation, and make them part of the family again? Has anyone approached them with words of comfort? Perhaps you and I know a woman who needs this restorative care . . . if not us, who will assure her that she can be loved? Who will tell her that her dignity can be restored, and that she can be the recipient of compassion, instead of lust? Who will tell her that her integrity can be pure again? She needs to have a shoulder to cry on, and then hear "I don't condemn you."
What she really needs to hear is Jesus, saying "Come unto me." Come with your burdens, your grief, your broken heart. Bring me your wounds, your reproach, your self-loathing. I will bring you into a family where you will not be used, abused, betrayed, and I will guard and protect you.
We need to be advocates for these women. Yes, there are times when accusations are false. There are times when lies or false memories are aired. But if we pray for His wisdom, we will have more success than if we go it alone. We can offer them an end to their shame, and a cover for their past. A robe He gives, that will cover their scars.
In our world, it is Satan who wants to plot and scheme our demise. He wants also for us to keep our secrets well, secret! He counts on us burying them, and not letting them see the light of day. Or the light of God's love. But when we open up to God, and let His love shine on our secrets, we can have true freedom, and we can have life. We do not have to allow a past event to shape our lives any longer. That event doesn't have to define us, who we are, what we can do, who we can be. If we lay our secret at the foot of His cross, we can be restored. He is our kinsman Redeemer -- He wants to comfort and restore us, renew our minds.
He will wipe away all tears . . .