Tamar’s life hung in the balance! Unmarried and pregnant, she had committed a serious sin. There was no hiding that fact for long.

Judah, the fourth of Jacob’s 12 sons, and a powerful leader, pronounced his judgment: “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” The fire was made ready.

But then Tamar sent a message to Judah revealing that he was the father of the child. And she had proof: Judah’s own cord and staff. It was not she alone, but Judah as well who had sinned.

In that instant, Judah faced a life-defining decision. He could accuse her of lying and send her quickly to the fire. Easy to do. Quickly gone. Soon forgotten. Cover the whole thing up.

But to his everlasting credit, Judah chose the more difficult way, a painful path of humiliation and repentance. He confessed his sin before everyone. “She is more righteous than I.” Tamar’s life was saved; she eventually gave birth to a son: Perez.

Judah, putting the life of Tamar ahead of his own pride and position, became the first person in the Bible to confess a sin. His courageous decision to save Tamar at cost to himself is remembered forever in the Gospel of Matthew. “Judah was the father of Perez whose mother was Tamar.” And from that line of descent was born Jesus, our Savior. 

The definition of a hero is someone who puts the life of others ahead of his or her own. True heroes do not cover up sin. They face it. Confess it. And with God’s help, carry on.

Lord Jesus, I confess to you my sin of ______. Help me to be honest before others and to do what is right in your eyes. Amen.

Throughout This Day: Ask yourself if you need to stop covering up. Is there someone else who you should put ahead of your own pride and self-interest? If so, ask the Lord what your first step toward freedom or reconciliation should be.

Tags: Daily Devotional Genesis 38
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