"Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamental robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went."
Many young women today live with that same question, "Where can I take my shame?" With no place to take the shame of sexual abuse they dull their pain through drugs, alcohol and sex (where men use them for sex while they use men for love). I often wonder how Tamar spent the rest of her life. Scripture doesn't say.
Two years pass before Absalom avenges Tamar's rape by killing Amnon. Amnon's death, however, may have removed the perpetrator from the earth but his death didn't remove Tamar's shame.
So, what does a woman do with the shame that she bears from sexual abuse? Isaiah 53:4 provides the answer: "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." The word grief could easily be translated injustice and sorrow, pain. Certainly Tamar's rape was an injustice which caused her immense pain both emotionally, physically and psychologically. Jesus Christ vicariously carried or bore that injustice. Christ died to bear the penalty of sin and the pain of sin inflicted by others.
Had Tamar known she could have transferred the shame she experienced onto the cross of Jesus Christ. Had Tamar only known this truth she wouldn't have had to live the remainder of her life in shame!
Jesus Christ is the Shame-bearer. What good news for women!
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Samuel 5:13-16; 1 Chronicles 3:4b-9; 14:3-7
2 Samuel 13:1-15:6
- Who is Jonadab (see v. 32) what does his counsel to Amnon tell you about Jonadab?
- How would you describe Tamar's attempts to protect herself from Amnon?
- How does David respond to Tamar's rape? What does this reveal about David's spiritual condition at this time in his life?
- How long does Absalom 'nurse' his grudge against his brother?
- Describe Jonadab's continued role in David's household.
- What does Joab do to restore Absalom to David?
- What does Absalom do to steal away the hearts of the people from King David?
- What does this reveal about those who self-promote and tear down others?
Ask the Lord to help you see the shame borne by women around you and to allow you to enter into their lives redemptively.