God Cares About the Vulnerable

Matthew 1:1-17

Matthew mentions only five women in Jesus’ genealogy. That alone makes them remarkable, but their stories are more than mere curiosities. They reorient how we see and value the women among us.

Tamar was the mother of Judah’s sons Perez and Zerah. But Judah wasn’t Tamar’s husband; his son Er was. Er, however, was “evil in the sight of the Lord,” so his life was taken from him (Genesis 38:7). Tamar then married Er’s brother Onan, who also displeased God and died. Though Hebrew custom (and, later, the law) protected a widow by requiring a relative of the deceased to marry her, Judah denied Tamar because he was afraid to lose another son (Genesis 38:11). So she took matters into her own hands.

Justice for widows is important in God’s eyes. The psalmist, in fact, calls Him “a father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows” (Psalm 68:5). And God’s ultimate judgment of Tamar is in her favor. She gave birth to Perez and Zerah—the twins Judah fathered and direct-line ancestors of Christ.

Psalm 68 also says God “makes a home for the lonely” (Psalm 68:6). We should participate in caring for those who are grieving or vulnerable. This is confirmed in James’ epistle when he calls the care of widows “pure religion” (James 1:27). So let us make our churches and homes welcoming places for those who need help.


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