Written by Katlego Hlongwane
Valentine’s Day is here, and so is the single person’s race to get hooked up. The typical red and white colors are being adorned in the stores, and my inbox is flooding with promotional messages for cutie teddy bears, flowers and of course the chocolates. Yum, I am more inclined to the chocolates not so much anything else. I am not going to write about this worldly love, which the day packages and sells to people as its central message. It has become very evident that the day is lust driven and has nothing to do with the love of Yeshua.
Yeshua’s love points to sacrifice, commitment and surrender. It’s a love that gives value and purpose to the receiver. In a world where we are broken and begging for some self-worth, there is a whole book that takes the some of the most socially unworthy women (in this instance) and reveals how YHWH really sees them and uses them for His will and glory.
It begins with the story of Tamar in Genesis 38, the woman who was positioned to ensure the continuation of the lineage of Judah. How this came about was textbook novella storyline. Tamar is assumed to a Canaanite woman who married Judah’s (Joseph’s brother) firstborn Er, a wicked man in the sight of the Lord. Er was killed, and as Torah instructs Onan the second born son of Judah would have to marry Tamar and redeem his brother. Onan displeased YHWH by deliberately not fulfilling the instruction and was also killed.
Tamar was evidently sent back to her father’s home to wait for the Judah to call her back when the last son Shelah is grown. The events that followed resulted in a plan devised by Tamar, who posed as a prostitute and falls pregnant by her Father-In-Law. When she was found out and judgement was to be passed in her life, she protects the dignity of her Father-in-Law and is more righteous than Judah was (Genesis 38 v 26). Ironically the Canaanite woman’s name means palm tree, which is symbolic of righteousness in the scriptures.
The second Tamar is David’s daughter (2 Samuel 13), made wise by her knowledge of the Torah. She is raped by her half-brother Amnon, who quickly throws her out into the streets. Although she was going through such trauma, she desired to keep the instructions of YHWH. She pleaded with her half-brother to keep the instructions of YHWH and marry her, in full knowledge of the curses that would be brought upon the family for disobedience, but she was unsuccessful, and her story soon ends, and that begins the demise of David’s children.
Both women are not given nearly as much credit as they should. And are often dismissed or overlooked, however, if their narratives were to be explored in greater detail, it would reveal the selflessness, and great consideration that the women have for God’s will and family. Regardless of what many have said about them, I believe that they stood firm in YHWH’s eyes as righteous and worthy to be remembered, after all, they are both in the scriptures, and God is often in the detail.
Another woman who is celebrated is Ruth, she is seen as an example of loyalty and unshakable faith. We are all familiar with that narrative and the powerful words she speaks in Ruth 1: 16 where she denounces her past and heritage and chooses the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and leaves Moab with Naomi for Bethlehem. It is at this point that the focus of the discussion shifts to Boaz, the family redeemer who is likened to Christ because he is our Redeemer. Although the book’s name is Ruth and not Boaz, as soon as Boaz is introduced in last 3 chapters, Ruth almost becomes a supporting character.
Why is she important again? If we agree that Boaz foreshadows and speaks of the coming Yeshua who redeems us on the cross, can this woman Ruth be worthy to be the bride of Christ, the same Christ that walks out the Torah perfectly in order to gain his bride? Surely there was something more to Ruth than just loyalty and making wise decisions, she too stood as a righteous palm tree worthy to inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6: 9) and continue the lineage of Jesus Christ.
“You are worth the blood of Christ, poured out into your life for your good and His glory.”
As much as these women, all went through personal experiences that could have disqualified them in our minds of their righteous standing, we know who determines worth, and places value on His people. We would not have these often-misinterpreted stories/examples of women if YHWH did not want us to know how much he deeply loves us and sees us as Palm trees, his Palm trees, fitting and adorned for his courts, and redeemed by Yeshua himself. He qualifies the unqualified and raises them above many.
Glory to YHWH who takes our pasts and makes it a meaningful testimony of His love and power. I submit to you today, as you read this, especially women in Christ. Seek the father’s face and ask Him and only him how he sees you, and when he responds I pray that it will bring a sense of peace and acceptance that you are worth more than a stuffed teddy bear, flowers and flesh exalting relationships. You are worth the blood of Christ, poured out into your life for your good and His glory.