Love in Layers

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NIV


Have you ever seen a Russian Nesting Doll? (Interesting sidenote: It’s actually formally called the Matryoshka Doll.) It’s a set of carved and intricately painted wooden dolls that fit one inside another, smallest to largest, when you open them up at the middle.

I bring that up because, this week, God TOTALLY Matryoshka Doll’ed me!!!!

The chapters I read in Genesis were interesting but seemed a bit disjointed – if I’m being honest – until it dawned on me that they weren’t disjointed at all! They were meant to fit inside each other like those little dolls! Each account builds on the next giving us a rich, epic depiction of what True Love really looks like.

Here’s the example from Genesis 38:

Doll 1: Judah leaves home and meets a Cannanite woman, who he marries and has three sons with: Er, Onan, and Shelah.

Doll 2: Er meets and marries Tamar but is so cruel to Tamar that God takes his life.

Doll 3: Tamar becomes married to Er’s brother, Onan, but he also dies after refusing to get her pregnant.

Doll 4: Judah did not let Tamar marry his third son, Shelah, because he was afraid that Shelah would also die from being married to Tamar.

Doll 5: Tamar finds out Judah’s betrayal and disguises herself as a veiled prostitute near where Judah she knew would pass by. Judah solicits her for sex and she becomes pregnant by him.

Doll 6: Truth comes out that Judah unknowingly slept with his daughter-in-law. He publicly acknowledged that it was him that impregnated Tamar and that he was wrong to keep his son Shelah from her.

Doll 7: Tamar gives birth to twins. In birth, one (Zerah) pushes his hand out first and then gets shoved back in by his brother (Perez), who is actually born first.

I’ll bet you’re not reading this thinking Yep – that’s a great love story! Neither was I at first. I had to dig a little deeper. After looking up a couple commentaries, I learned that Judah and Tamar’s child (Perez) was in Jesus’s bloodline. All that craaaaaaazy reality-tv-show-quality drama that made up chapter 38 of Genesis was put there to show us what kind of people went into the ultimate Royal lineage: Messed. Up. People.

God chose to have his one and only Son nested inside of generations of straight up CRAZY! Why? Because God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful man (Romans 8:3). He can empathize with our weaknesses and has been tempted in every way we have (Hebrews 4:15). The depth of all he saved us from was build into his DNA.

Translation: He is right there with us in the mess of it all. He “gets” crazy because he comes from crazy. And nothing is too crazy for him because he OVERCAME crazy.

That is True Love.


Dear Lord, I love when I get unexpected revelations of truth from you. Thank you for reminding me that you came TO save and serve, not to BE saved and served. Help me to model my days after you – tucking layers of truth, love, and acceptance into my DNA and daily actions. Amen.

photo credit: jronaldlee <a href=”″>Inner Circle</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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About messyworship

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I believe that you can bump into God outside of a Sunday morning church service. That is what Messy Worship is: a written meditation with an authentic, transparent take on the Bible's application to today's world. This is where I challenge myself to blurr the line between "life" and "worship" so much that the line disappears a little more each day. I hope, by sharing what I learn, the idea of a seamless life of worship becomes contagious.

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