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Day 17: Tamer – One of the most disturbing and tragic stories of shame in the Bible is about King David’s daughter, Tamar, who was raped by her brother. Scripture tells us Tamar removed her ornamental robe, the symbol of her status as a virgin daughter of the king. In its place, she put ashes on her head and spent the rest of her days in mourning (2 Samuel 13). It’s a devastating story of how shame can destroy a life. This young woman had her dignity, purity, and future stolen from her, and her own father did nothing. He failed to secure justice on her behalf. Although our stories may look different, all women can imagine Tamar’s heartache, loss, and shame. I, for one, want to reach into the pages of Scripture, wrap a blanket around Tamar, and whisper words of tenderness into her ears. I want to lift up her chin, brush those ashes out of her hair, and help her come out of mourning.
I sometimes wonder if the prophet Isaiah had Tamar in mind when he prophesied about the Savior to come: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners … to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. … Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours” (Isa. 61:1–3, 7, emphasis added).
Her earthly father may not have rescued her, but I cannot wait to see Tamar in the presence of her heavenly Father. I imagine she’s strutting around heaven, a beautiful crown instead of those ashes. A garment of praise instead of that torn robe. Her shame replaced with radiant, everlasting joy.
Consider: If you feel comfortable, talk to God about an area in your life where you’d like to experience self-forgiveness and freedom from shame by the end of this 31 day e-devotional series.
Prayer: God, thank you that your mercies are new every day. Please show me how to rise in beauty from my ashes and to know without any doubt who I am in you and who you are in me. Amen.
(Sections taken from Overcomer by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2015. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.)