In Genesis chapter thirty eight and verse six to ten the Bible tells us that Judah the son to Jacob took a wife for his first-born son Er. The name of his son’s wife was Tamar. Unfortunately Er was wicked and God was not pleased with him therefore he killed Er. The only successor for Er was his brother Onan that is why Judah told him to take his brother’s wife Tamar to be his wife. In all this Onan struggled with the idea that the children that he would raise through his deceased brother’s wife would not carry his name. In verse nine of the same chapter the Bible says, “And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother” (KJV). This is what happens when the ownership of church ministry is not placed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ministry is not a personal thing. Onan the son to Judah had personal issues and that displeased God. The work of God belongs to God and he owns everything. People like Onan are not helpful to God’s plan of saving people. Onan did not seem to know that the Messiah was supposed to be from the seed of Judah although that was God’s plan. He faced serious consequences for that lack of knowledge. If he knew he would not have denied seed for his brother. All he needed was to do the will of another. The will of his father Judah, who had given him to Tamar, was rooted in the will of God.
The Onan situation is common today in the sense that very few people are supportive when presented with the opportunity to help in a friend’s ministry. The idea that their friend would benefit from their support makes them unwilling to assist. Such people are actually closing doors for themselves because of being concerned about their own personal gain. What is important is to glorify God in service to God and not just pursuing a personal agenda. We have to do the will of God so that the plan of God can be accomplished.
The problem with Onan was not a physical one, but a conflict of the heart. He could not do the will of God because his name was not going to be the one to be inherited. This was against God’s plan because the Messiah was supposed to come through the tribe of Judah. Onan was refusing to do the will of God because of his desire for personal gain. He was not helpful in the unfolding of that prophetic plan. This is the reason why God killed Onan. We have to realize that this is about doing the will of God.
Excerpt from the book “Church Planting“.
- The Long Wait: Tamar (heartofherthoughts.wordpress.com)