The thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis is one of those which, if you’re on a “read the Bible in a year” plan, you’re probably tempted to skip, or at least read in fast-forward. It’s a chapter in which the word God is not found, and the name of God is mentioned only twice (both times in terms of stark judgment), and contains such vile behavior the reader might even question why it’s in the Bible and/or what kind of spiritual or practical benefit it might have.
Such treatment of any passage of Scripture, though, betrays a conviction the Bible is inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient for everything pertaining to life and godliness. It contradicts anyone who believes Paul was right and truthful when He said “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim 3:16). The task of the pastor-teacher and the student of Scripture (which should be everyone) should be to mine the depths of any passage to find the precious jewels, trusting that the Lord would not have spoken it in His word in vain.
Just what are the jewels, then, from a chapter like Genesis 38? Well, they are found in the midst of much dung, much sin. But just as 1 Corinthians 10:6 teaches us that episodes of the Old Testament happened, in part, as examples for us, “so that we would not crave evil things as they [Israel] also craved,” we find in Genesis 38 some bad examples to avoid. Continue reading “Jewels amidst dung: The heights and depths of a flyover chapter, Genesis 38”