I’m struck by the lack of fidelity that we can already see in the nation of Israel. Starting with Joseph and his brothers, we see that Joseph was sold to Ishmaelites and eventually as a slave all of the way into Egypt.

Then in the story of Judah and his sons in Genesis 38, we see a lack of fidelity amongst his sons who are unwilling to be faithful to their family. Er is wicked in the Lord’s sight and dies and then Onan refuses to give Tamar children to allow her family’s line to continue.

From there, Judah himself doesn’t keep his promise to give his son Shelah to be Tamar’s husband, so she goes to deceive Judah. She sits at the city gate with her face covered, as a prostitute would in those days, and sleeps with Judah.

Meanwhile, Judah believes that Tamar is a shrine prostitute, so he is unfaithful to God as he is performing a worship ritual for the local gods by sleeping with a shrine prostitute.

And finally, when it is found out that Tamar has prostituted herself, Judah says that she should be burned alive! But of course the irony of the situation is that Judah is the one with whom she has prostituted herself. So, while he doesn’t know that he has slept with Tamar, he is an incredible hypocrite because he says that she should be killed for her prostitution despite having just slept with a prostitute himself.

So, let’s notice how much *infidelity* we actually see throughout this story. Is there any question why God renames Jacob to be Israel? Israel means “struggles with God”, and although we don’t see God directly within this story, we can definitely see the struggle that God is going to have with the nation of Israel. We can see the condition of their hearts in the way that they are living. We can see the lack of fidelity, both to God and to each other. Each lives for their own selves, not for anyone else, and certainly not in fidelity to God.

May we take these as examples to not replicate. I pray that we would be faithful, both to God and to others. That we would love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that we would love our neighbors as ourselves. God, help us to be these people. To be a light to the world for the type of people that you have called us to be. Lord, lead us to be these people.

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