Ramifications of Sin


Dominoes are great to set into beautiful designs, and with the flick of a finger, they all fall one by one. Each domino is independent and alone, until they fall. We are not too different. When we fall, we often create chain reactions of devastating effects. The quick actions of one can cause a change in many.

  • How have you seen your deeds or actions affect others?


12 In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.

20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’” 23 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. By withholding his third son from marrying Tamar, Judah had been unfaithful to his moral duty before the law as a father-in-law (Genesis 38:1-11). Now without a husband, Tamar had no protection or children of her own. Describe her plan of action.
  2. What does Tamar’s plan indicate about the reputation of Judah? Why would she think posing as a prostitute would be effective in getting to Judah?
  3. What three things does she ask for as a pledge? Why did she run and take the pledge with her? What was she really holding on to? What leverage does she now have?
  4. How does Judah’s sin in the beginning affect Tamar and her decisions? 
  5. In what ways have your sins, struggles, and lack of faith affected others in your life?


Judah did not want Tamar to be given to his third son because he was afraid. His two older sons were married to Tamar and had died. Judah acted as if Tamar were the problem. He acted without faith and concern for the righteousness of his sons. In her desperation, Tamar confronted Judah’s sin through her dangerous scheme. We need to realize that our personal sins often become social sins with ramifications and ripple effects toward others. In our attempts to love God and walk in faith, we must also honor and love the people around us.

  • Talk with God about the areas of your life where your lack of faithfulness has impacted others. Ask God to forgive your sins and pray for those that may have been affected by your sin.
  • Thank our Lord who forgives and loves.