Sovereignty in a Weird Passage (Genesis 38:27-30)

Genesis 38:27-30 (ESV)


27 When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. 28 And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.


                It is always fun to come across the weird passages of the Bible. What are we to make of these sorts of odd events? Here we have the story of a woman who bore twins. At the time of their birth, one twin got a hand out, but the other was born first. Why in the world would the Bible record this? What are we to do with it?


                Remember that the Book of genesis is telling us the story of the beginnings. It is the book that tells us of the beginning of our world as God created it. It tells us of the beginning of humanity. It tells us of the beginning of sin, the fall of man. And it tells us of the beginning of God’s promise to send a Rescuer into the world to make things right between himself and his people.


                In the more recent context, we have seen the beginning of the nation of Israel. Abraham was chosen by God to carry God’s promise. Abraham’s son, Isaac, was chosen over Ishmael to carry God’s promise. Isaac’s son Jacob was chosen over Esau to carry the promise. Now we see the story of Judah, Jacob’s fourth son, and Juda’s twins.


                Just like we have seen in the two sons of Abraham and of Isaac, what we are witnessing is God selecting the particular line through which is promise will be carried. You see, Judah will be the one to carry the promise given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But which of Judah’s twin sons would carry it? God chose Perez.


                How do we know God chose Perez? In this instance, it is a miracle more than a simple pronouncement. Perez’s younger brother should have been born first. His hand came out first, after all. Yet, somehow, by the power of God, the order of the two children was switched. God moved the children. God had Perez be born first, but only after showing us that it could have gone the other way. God marked Perez as the one to carry the covenant promise.


                What do we learn from this stuff? I mean, sure, it is interesting that God chose one child to carry the promise, but so what? God is in control. God is sovereign. God selected one child and not the other to carry his blessing. This was not based in any way on the deeds of the children, but simply on God’s sovereign plan. This was true of Jacob and his brother as well. God is in control. His purposes will stand. Nobody will thwart them.


                Thus, an odd story like this one reminds us that God is in control. He is in charge. He will do that which he intends. He can change circumstances if he needs to in order to make things happen in the way he has chosen.


                God also chooses the instruments of his will. God can use any of us he wishes. We do not have the right to demand to be used by God. However, if God so chooses, he can put us in a position to serve him in any way he pleases.


                Rest in the truth of God’s sovereignty. Praise him. Trust him. Know that he has accomplished his will. He brought his promised Rescuer in to the world. And now that Jesus has come, no person will stop God’s will from being done.