13 May Discussion Guide: Meant for Good Week 2
One of the things we value within community is fun. In the midst of all the pressures life throws at us, it is our ability to laugh, play and celebrate together that reminds us we serve a good, loving, and resurrected Lord who stands above it all. So, we want to take the first few minutes of our time together to play, have fun, and celebrate the fact that we belong to Jesus.
Today’s Ice Breaker: Suck It Up
Have at least 3, but more if you’d like, competing in this. Players place a straw in their mouth and use suction to transfer a pile of 25 M&M’s, or Skittles from one plate to another in under one minute. Only one hand may be used to hold the straw. Everyone gets to eat their candy when the round is finished! This game also works well with 3 players competing in each round.
- Supplies Needed: straws, paper plates, skittles or M&M’s
This week we shift in our focus in the book of Genesis again, as we begin a new series titled Meant for Good. We will be taking a look at the life of Joseph; the struggles he faced, the mistakes he made, the betrayal he suffered, and how through it all, what the enemy meant for evil, God purposed for good. As we talk through this past Sunday’s sermon, let us do so with the faith and courage to ask the question, “How might God be doing the same thing in my own life?” Let’s get started.
What is one area of brokenness in our world today that you would like to see made right?
Cual área de quebrantamiento en el mundo quisieras que se mejorara?
Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and remained in her father’s house. In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.
Understanding what Judah and his family were doing to Tamar, how would you describe their treatment of her?
What would have been the right, or just, thing for them to do? Why is that?
Entonces Judá dijo a su nuera Tamar: —Permanece viuda en casa de tu padre, hasta que crezca mi hijo Sela. (Esto dijo pues pensaba: «No sea que muera él también, como sus hermanos.») Tamar se fue y se quedó en casa de su padre. Pasaron muchos días y murió la hija de Súa, la mujer de Judá. Cuando Judá se consoló, subió a Timnat (donde estaban los trasquiladores de sus ovejas) junto a su amigo Hira, el adulamita. Y avisaron a Tamar, diciéndole: «Tu suegro sube a Timnat a trasquilar sus ovejas.» Entonces se quitó ella los vestidos de su viudez, se cubrió con un velo para no ser reconocida y se puso a la entrada de Enaim, junto al camino de Timnat, pues veía que Sela había crecido y que ella no le era dada por mujer. Cuando Judá la vio, la tuvo por una ramera, pues ella había cubierto su rostro.
Al entender lo que Judah y su familia le estaban haciendo a Tamar, como describirías como la estaban tratando?
Cual hubiera sido lo correcto y justo?
In the culture of their day it was expected, and later put into law, that when a woman lost her husband and was widowed, the brother of her husband would take her as his own wife to care for her and give her children as her late husband’s inheritance. It was a patriarchal society where women not only had limited options in regards to making a living, but they were seen as a lower class of humanity in general. Therefore, when a husband passed away the wife would be left in an extremely vulnerable and hopeless situation. Since she had already been married she would often not be the first choice for another man to take as a wife, and since other men were either taking care of their own families or preparing to be able to do so, taking on this widow would have been a financial risk and unwanted responsibility. In many cases the widowed woman would end up begging on the streets for food and shelter, or worse, having to sell her body in prostitution.
This was an absolute injustice. A woman, who at no fault of her own, had gone from a stable situation where support and provision were readily available now finding herself at the mercy of a society which dismissed her as an unwelcome obligation should have been cared for, loved, taken in by the family of the man she had married. Judah and his sons should have opened their doors to her, sought to honor her, sought to care for her, to give her a hope and a future. Instead they took advantage of her situation, dismissed her with hypocrisy and kicked her to the curb. And, perhaps, the worst part of it all is that these are men whose story and history is that of being dismissed and rejected and treated as second class sons by their own father. If anyone should have understood the pain and struggle of Tamar’s situation it should have been Judah. Of anyone in this story Judah should fought for Tamar to be seen as an image-bearer of God deserving of dignity and honor and value.
The just thing to do here was not to just send Tamar back to her father (not doing her harm), but rather to take her in and love her as a father would his own daughter (doing for her what she could not do for herself). That is the heart of justice.
So then, what would you say justice should look like?
In what ways do you see a lack of justice at work in our culture today?
About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
Then Judah went up to him and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself…
Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”
What happened to Judah to bring him to a place of repentance and the pursuit of justice?
In what areas have you seen injustice, or at least a lack of justice, active in your own heart towards others (past or present)?
Who has God used to challenge or confront those things in your heart, if indeed He has?
Sucedió que al cabo de unos tres meses fue dado aviso a Judá, diciendo: —Tamar, tu nuera, ha fornicado, y ciertamente está encinta a causa de las fornicaciones. Entonces dijo Judá: —¡Sacadla y quemadla! Pero ella, cuando la sacaban, envió a decir a su suegro: «Del dueño de estas cosas estoy encinta.» También dijo: «Mira ahora de quién son estas cosas: el sello, el cordón y el bastón.» Cuando Judá los reconoció, dijo: «Más justa es ella que yo, por cuanto no la he dado a mi hijo Sela.» Y nunca más la conoció.
Entonces Judá se acercó a él y le dijo: —¡Ay, señor mío!, te ruego que permitas a tu siervo decir una palabra a oídos de mi señor, y no se encienda tu enojo contra tu siervo, pues tú eres como el faraón. por eso te ruego que se quede ahora tu siervo en lugar del joven como siervo de mi señor, y que el joven vaya con sus hermanos, pues ¿cómo volveré yo a mi padre sin el joven? No podré, por no ver el mal que sobrevendrá a mi padre.
When a newspaper in the early 1900’s posed the question, ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ the English writer, poet, and thinker G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response:
Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’
How can acknowledging, confronting, and repenting of our own unjust thoughts and behaviors begin to bring healing into our world?
We cannot be a people who bring healing and justice to the world until we first acknowledge our own unjust thoughts, feelings and actions because justice can’t just be something we do, it must come out of who we are. To do “just” things from an unjust heart is simply “politic-ing” and seeking to maintain appearances. That is not justice. Justice is doing for others what they cannot do for themselves from a place of love, honor and compassion. If those things are not in our hearts already then we may be able to do “just” things but it is not the same as be a people of justice, and simply doing “just” things can never bring true healing to the injustices of our world. The reason being is that true justice is felt and experiences at an identity level. People experience justice when they feel truly seen, understood and appreciated. If I have prejudice, bias, selfishness, entitlement or judgement in my heart towards others, then even if I do the “right” thing for them but they do not feel seen, understood, and valued by me then, sure, it get’s them into a better situation but it does not bring the healing they need to overcome the brokenness they experienced as a result of that injustice. I have to first acknowledge my own unjust thoughts and motivations, wrestle through why they exist, and then cry out to the Holy Spirit to change my heart and mind in those areas to allow me to “no longer regard anyone according to the flesh any longer.” Only then can I see myself, and others, through the merciful and gracious eyes of Christ and begin to bring New Creation justice into old creation brokenness.
How does the Gospel of Jesus (his life, death, resurrection, ascension and enthronement) give us the courage, humility and faith to walk in that repentance and be agents of healing in our world today?
Pensamientos de Cierre
As we close our time together we want to make sure to take time to pray for, and encourage one another. Can we join you in praying for a family member, friend, or neighbor in whose life you are hoping to see God move in some way? Do you have any personal prayer needs?