"Hold On to Your Seal, Your Cord, and Your Staff"
38 At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2 There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her; 3 she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4 She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5 She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him. 6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so he put him to death also. 11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house. 12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.
13 When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.” “And what will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked.
17 “I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said. “Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” she asked. 18 He said, “What pledge should I give you?” “Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.
Tell The Story
This morning I wanted to walk you through a story. It's a true story. A story of a man. A story of a family. It's a story full of sin! A story full of wickedness, disobedience and a broken pledge. One of the main characters in this story is a man by the name of Judah. Judah forsook his godly family, he left the influence of his godly father. His father's name was Jacob. Jacob was a godly man. In old testament times when people would pray; they would pray to the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Even today we're still praying to the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. So Judah came from a godly family, but everything wasn't long stem roses. Everything wasn't squeaky clean. The Bible begins this story telling us that Judah has departed from his brothers. Now before this; in the 37th chapter we see that Judah convinced his brothers who wanted to kill their younger brother Joseph; to sell him to the Ishmaelites. Now Judah may have been leaving or departing from his brothers partly because he was tired of the lies. See Judah and his brothers made it look like Joseph had been devoured by some ferocious animal, when they really had sold him into slavery. Now because of this Judah's father was mourning and grieving heavily and refused to be comforted. It's possible that the guilt of Judah's sin of what he and his brothers had done was so heavy that it caused him to run. Instead of confessing his sin. Instead of being truthful and telling his father what really happed he decided to run. And you know thats no different from what we do today. Instead of confessing our sins we try to hide them. We run away. And we run away beacause we don't like correction. When we have sinned the answer is not to run away. The answer is to turn to God. Because when we sin we turn away from God. So if when we have sinned if we decide to run away all we are doing is running further into sin! And if you run to far you'll run into a life of sin.
Explain The Story
So Judah left the godly influence of his father to dwell in Adullam. Now Adullam was a Canannite Village. A village of unbelievers. So in other words he left a Godly influence to dwell in a land with worldly folk. And I know Church sometime you get fed up with mess in here. Noah must have been alittle fustrated with all of the animals on that ark. It must have been a mess in there, and not only that but remember there was some kind of every animal on that ark. I imagine they must have had problems like we do in the church today. Dogs get to barking at everybody, monkeys swinging from this ministry to that ministry causing problems, giraffes sticking their necks in everybody’s business, but nevertheless they stayed in the are. So church I beg of you stay in the ark. Please, don’t go out and surround yourself with the world because when you do, you’ll be in a world of trouble. That’s why GOD has called us to be holy to live a separated life. Romans 12:2 Do not be conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 2Corinthians 6:17-18 Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Look at your neighbor and tell them come out from among them. Now watch this not only do the things you do affect you, but they also affect your family, they affect your offspring. Some of us are the reason why our children won’t act right. Look at this now Judah marry’s this Canannites woman named Shua. They had three son’s Er, Onan, and Shelah. Genesis 38:6,7 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; So the Lord put him to death. It doesn’t say what Er was doing that was so wicked that caused God to take his life, but I just believe that the Lord go fed up. You know the LORD will get fed up. Just ask Jeremiah, the Lord told Jeremiah to tell the house of Israel and Judah, that he would bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. And although they cry out to Him. He would not listen to them. The LORD even went on to tell Jeremiah “Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them. It will be horrible thing for you if God turns you over to your own mind. You don’t have a lot of time to be fooling around. You can’t continue to stay in your same old wicked ways. You don’t know when the LORD is going to get fed up with your wickedness. That’s why you better call on the LORD NOW! Seek the LORD while He may be found! Look at somebody and tell to them you better find HIM! And so because of Er’s wickedness the LORD put hi to death. Genesis 38:8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for you brother. Now in those days it was customary that if a man was married and he past away the next oldest brother would then take the wife of his brother and raise a family for his deceased brother. This was called a levirate marriage. Now Onan didn’t want to do this because he knew the child would not really be his, so when he layed with her he spilled his seed on the ground, to keep Tamar from producing a child for his brother. What Onan did was flat out disobedient. It was wrong and wicked in the sight of the LORD so He put Onan to death also. Church there is a price to pay for disobedience. For the wages of sin is death. And Paul said when you offer yourself to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey- whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death or to obedience which leads to righteousness. And so the LORD killed Onan also. Right about now Judah is like my first son was with you and he died. I gave you my second son and now he’s dead. Something is going on here. Tamar I’ll tell you what your are going to do. You go on back to you father’s house and remain a widow, and when my youngest boy Shelah becomes of age, when he grows up I will give him to you. And in his head he’s like yeah right. Two of my boys have already been killed. Now the Bible says a long time had passed. Judah’s wife had died. Judah and his Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah to the men who were shearing his sheep. Now Tamar Judah’s daughter-in-law had gotten word that her father-in-law Judah was on his way to Timnah. So she took off her widow clothes covered herself with a veil to disguise herself. Then she sat down at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. Tamar did this because she saw that Shelah Judah’s son had now grown up and she had been given to him as his wife. And so Tamar is sitting by the entrance of Enaim which is on the way to Timnah. There Judah saw her, but he thought that she was a prostitute, because she and covered her face. And so Judah didn’t know that this was his daughter-in-law, so he went to her and asked her to lay with him. Playing the role she asked what will you give me? Judah replied I will send a young goat from my flock. Tamar then asked will you give me a pledge until you send it. Judah asks what shall I give you as a pledge? And Tamar said your seal, your cord, and your staff. And yall Judah gave up his seal his cord and his staff for a few moments of pleasure. Now some of your Bible’s might say signet, and that’s what a seal is. It’s a signet. In those days they had seals that people wore on their finger as a ring and they also had cylinder seals. And this seal in our text was probably a cylinder seal. And I say that because cylinder seals they wore on a cord around their necks. And we see in our text that Tamar asked for his seal and his cord. Now lets look at the significance of those 3 items Judah gave Tamar.
Before writing was invented, people had ways of signing things. They used seals. Seals were usually raised or engraved designs on a hard surface. And when these seals were pressed on wet clay they left a mark. No two seals were alike, which meant that each persons seal left a distinctive signature. The impression of a person's seal served as a signature on letters, contracts and deeds. The poor who did not have individual seals they used their thumb or the hem of their garments. People of wealth carried seals as a sign of their status. Government officials carried seals as a sign of their authority. High ranking officials approved the acts of lower ranking officials with their seals. Royal decrees were put into effect at sight of a royal seal. You know after Joseph was sold into slavery he ended up in Egypt, and eventually Pharaoh promoted Joseph. He put Joseph over all the land of Egypt and the first thing Pharaoh did when he promoted Joseph was give him his seal. And so a seal was a sign of authority. It was a sign of identity, and a seal was a sign of truth. You ought to tell somebody guard you seal.
Now If the seal is a sign of authority. If the seal is a sign of identity. If the seal is a sign of truth. Then what holds that authority? What holds that identity? What holds that truth? What is it about you that keeps you truthful? In a lying world, in a lying society; what is it that keeps you true? The answer is your integrity. Your integrity holds your authority. Your integrity holds your identity. Your integrity holds your truth. Your integrity confirm that you are who you say you are. Thats what gives folk away who say they are a Christian, but they're really not. Now I don't have a heaven or hell to put you in. So i'm not going to tell you either, but i will say this, you can tell a tree by the fruit it bares. And Jesus said not everybody who crys Lord, Lord is going to make it in. Heaven is going to be filled wit folk who have some integrity. And so the cord that held the signet or seal was a sign of integrity.
The staff is a sign of power. Picture this with me. The children of Israel are fearing for their lives; because Pharaoh is at their backs, and mountains are on both sides. But the LORD tells Moses, " Why are you crying out to ME? Tell the children of Israel to go foward, and as for you lift up your staff! And you know the story he parted the red sea and the children of Israel crossed over on dry land. I tell you the staff was a sign of power. When JESUS sent HIS disciples out two by two: they went and preached repentance. They went and cast out devils. They went and anointed with oil, they went and healed the sick. And when they went JESUS told them, take nothing with you on your journey. No bag, no bread, no money. Take nothing except your staff. And so the staff was a sign of power.
And so Judah gave up his seal, his cord, and his staff.
He gave up his authority.
He gave up his identity he gave up his truth.
He gave up his integrity.
He gave up his power.
And he gave it all up for a few moments of pleasure.
The sad thing is church is that the same thing is happening today.
Men we're giving up our seal our cord and our staff for moments of pleasure.
We're giving it up for a cutie face.
We're giving it up for a nice body.
Women you're giving up yours for a few moments of pleasure also.
You're giving it for a nice car.
You're giving it up for money.
You're giving it up for a good conversation.
People we are killing ourselves.
With the lust of the eyes.
The lust of the flesh.
And the pride of life.
Judah gave up so much of himself, but he did it all for the wrong reason.
But if you hold on to your seal.
If you hold on to your cord.
If you hold on to your staff.
If you do these things.
You can meet the one who gave up all of HIMSELF
But HE did for the right reason
HE did it for love.
HE gave up his riches
HE gave up HIMSELF, so that you might live.
On that 3rd day morning God raised HIM from the dead
And now HE'S at the right hand of the FATHER.
But HE didn't leave me alone.
HE gave me a staff, HIS HOLY SPIRIT.
And through the power of HIS HOLY SPIRIT
I can hang on to my seal.
I can hang on to my cord.
I can hang on to my staff.
Hang On To It!
HE'S coming back and if you want to go home with HIM
You better Hang On! Hang On!