The Bible does not hide the wickedness of man. In 2 Samuel 13:1-22 we find Tamar, the young beautiful daughter of King David. David had many wives and children from different mothers. Tamar had a half brother, Amnon who was infatuated with Tamar. Amnon was so infatuated with his half sister that he listened to and took wicked advice of, his cousin Jonadad. His plot was for Amnon to fake an illness and have Tamar come and serve him food from her hand. But things went very wrong and here is what happened while Tamar was serving Amnon food:
But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.” “No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. (2 Sam. 13: 11-14, NIV)
As bad as this scene is, it gets worse. What happens in verses 15-17 adds more abuse and disgrace. “Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. In his hatred he said, ‘Get up and get out!’ (v.15) “Finally Amnon called for his servant to put her out and bolt the door” (v.17). Servants talk, and this added to the disgrace and shame that was to come for Tamar from others in the community.
What took place after Tamar was removed was a life of disgrace. She was wearing a colorful robe, a sign of purity and honor. She tore her robe and put ashes on her head. Why? Was it not enough that she was abused and raped, and it was not her fault? In ancient Israel, putting ashes on your head was a sign of repentance and sorrow. For Tamar, she was showing her disgrace and her abuse by another man. She was no longer a virgin, and her honor was removed. She lived the rest of her days in disgrace. Can you imagine the emotional abuse she put on herself?
One would think someone would come to her rescue, to stand up for Tamar and be her advocate, but there was no one. Three men we see in the story did nothing. Her father, King David was very upset with Amnon, but did nothing. Her brother, Absalom told her to keep quiet and “don’t take this thing to heart.” (v.20) He did take revenge two years later and had Amnon killed (see 2 Sam 13:23-39). Finally, Tamar’s half brother, who she trusted, betrayed her and abused her. We see that Tamar lived the rest of her days in Absalom’s house “a desolate woman.” (v.20)
If you are like me you want justice. That is exactly what disgrace does to the heart and soul; it brings such an injustice to the person for what occurred. Look at the difference at disgrace and grace:
Loss of honor Honor
Loss of favor with people Favor with God
Loss of trust with others Trust in God, not others
No confidence in oneself Confidence in God
Unworthy, Shame Worth in God
Emotional abuse Emotional freedom
Satan uses the world and the flesh to cover and keep us in disgrace. Even as young children when we felt like something was not right with us, we felt guilty and unworthy. Sin brings disgrace and shame and condemnation. Satan wants to keep up in ashes. His whole purpose is to keep us in bondage to this thinking. He will bring relationships into our lives that will cause shame and disgrace. He will use our need to belong, to be significant, and to be secure and bring disgrace to our lives and try to keep is in a prison of disgrace. As strong and powerful as disgrace is, the grace of God is greater. Jesus has come to remove disgrace and bring honor, favor, worth, trust, freedom and a new identity to our lives. He is the lifter of our head and the remover of our ashes. He stepped into our sin with the cross and removed our disgrace.
Is is time for you to invite Jesus into your disgrace, so He can be the lifter of your head?