12 and, through the children that the LORD will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
The story of Ruth is very familiar. Boaz is willing to become her kinsman redeemer, and take her as his wife. Following the details of the legal transaction the witnesses pronounce a blessing upon him and this includes the prayer for his family to be like the house of Perez. This may be an unusual prayer when we think about the story of Tamar and how Perez came into this world. She had to take the initiative and deceive her father-in-law, Judah, to fulfill the responsibility of kinsman redeemer. While her deception seems odd, she is praised, for the people of Bethlehem are descendants of Judah and many could trace their family roots back directly to Perez.
Tamar was not remembered for being deceitful, but for being faithful. God had blessed the child, Perez, and now these were his people. The prayer was for God’s blessing to be fulfilled in Ruth and Boaz’s life in the same unusual way it was through Tamar.
For both Tamar and Ruth life had taken unexpected twists and turns. There was much sadness and loss involved but ultimately there was also joy and blessing. These two women remained faithful to all that God had intended. They did not sit idly by and wait for things to happen but became active participants in God’s activity. These two women are remembered by Matthew in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. That’s an unexpected blessing.
Life can take numerous twists and turns and we will have periods of disappointment. It is in the low times that we need to persevere in an attitude of humble faithfulness. At the same time we may need to take the initiative, to participate together with God in his work.
During times of discouragement we must keep our eyes on God. It would have been easy for both Ruth and Tamar to have been frustrated and angry with God. Neither responded in this way but continued to seeks ways in which to be faithful.
Faithfulness reaches beyond ourselves and to those who will come after. Unexpected blessings are a part of God’s plan and are often much bigger than anything we could have imagined.
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness in the unexpected. Amen.