"And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? This breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez" (Gen. 38:29).
Tamar, a first-supposed cursed wife of two of Judah's sons, and now the carrier of Judah's children, is in labor. The scene of labor is never pretty. It's full of searing pain and seething fire--but also, shouting joy.
A child is being born.
The midwife has discerned that Tamar has two children in her womb. Twins! And to be sure that all posterity will know for certain which the "firstborn" really is, when a tiny hand is seen, the midwife ties a cord around it quickly.
But after the mark is left, the hand withdraws, and a baby without a cord is delivered.
The midwife stares at the little boy in shock. "How hast thou broken forth?" she asks (vs. 29).
"And afterward came out his brother, who had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah" (vs. 30).
The one who everyone thought would be first...was last.
And the one that no one had seen yet...was first.
"But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first" (Matt. 19:30).
Human nature tries so hard to be first. It's natural. We do it without thinking. "Survival of the fittest" is engrained into our nature with the sin that produced it.
It takes someone special--and full of the Spirit of the Lord--to surrender their place as first...or even their right to be first… in order to be last.
And yet, our Example did just that.
He became last. Not only just last, but the last of the last. Lowest of the low. Smallest of the small.
His reason? "And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" (John 17:22).
First. To last.
That the last. Might be first.
That is love. In all truth and fullness.
Lord God, give me this same Spirit… May I be willing to be last that someone else might be first...