What do Hagar and Ruth have in common?

I didn’t start out to study the life of the Patriarchs, starting with Abram and Ruth. What I wanted to focus on were the women who were (unusually) listed in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1. If you’re in a hurry today, you can skip to the last few paragraphs to see where we are going next.

I began with Ruth because her story has always spoken to me, maybe because we moved all the time and I know what it’s like to go somewhere new. But to do a full study of Ruth, I had to know Boaz’s family, and he was either a grandson or a son of Rahab (the prostitute of Jericho who hid the Israelite spies). You can’t write a story–or in the case of historical Biblical fiction, retell a story–without knowing your characters and their experiences very well.

Next was Tamar, who married Judah’s oldest son, Er. God killed Er for his wickedness, so Tamar was passed on to Onan. Onan was a sneak and a liar, and God killed him as well. Tamar was sent back in disgrace to her parents in a kind of purgatory state. But who was Judah? His family tree was: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was his father. Judah moved away after the brothers sold dad’s favorite, Joseph, into slavery. I taught this story using character studies to multiple adult Bible studies at my church, and began writing Tamar’s story. To do so, I had to study Abram’s family line, and got intrigued by his troubled marriage with Sarai. And I felt great sympathy for Hagar.

I was interrupted in writing by the opportunity to write a book with a pastor friend, Keith Korver, whose sermon series greatly impacted my life. My husband and I taught a test class last spring, the book was launched in August, and we taught another class this fall. Unfortunately we found that chapter 10 and 11 had exchanged places in the printed books, SIGH! (Yes, it was my error.)
This brought an opportunity for revamping, which is currently in process. New edition should be ready mid-December.

I thought I would take up Tamar’s story where I left off, but I found my original painting of her character had changed as I went through it with multiple groups of Bible studiers. And it was time to choose a new Bible study for this blog. I chose a character study of Abram and Sarai to eventually get to a fuller picture of Tamar. And I was struck by the similarities of background between Hagar, Ruth, and Tamar–none of whom were Israelites, and all were loved and cared for by God. Sarai also wasn’t an Israelite, because the designation came through her descendants.

Have I confused you yet? These women are all linked together in my mind and heart. The song/video from Nicole Mullen and Kathie Lee Gifford on yesterday’s blog brought more people into the picture, and I was struck by God’s consistent, never-ending love for His creation. And you and I, He loves us and provides for us.

I hope that exploring the character of Abram and Sarai has been helpful for you in hearing God’s voice through the scriptures. I encourage your to continue with this story or use this method to dig deeper into other stories in the Bible.

Starting next week, we will go back to VISUALS. We will look at the Fruits of the Spirit, prayer for their growing presence in our lives, and draw or find a picture that illustrates our prayers and God’s words for us. Thank you for joining me in listening to God’s words for us through the Scriptures.

As always, your comments and input are always appreciated in the comments section below or by emailing me at KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com.

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