In the last post, from Monday, we became familiar with one of the brothers that make up the 12 tribes of Israel, Judah. We learned about his family background & even how his name set him apart from his brothers. That is significant because from the beginning he was a little different even if he seemed to fall in line with his brothers as far as behavior went. As a quick refresher, look up why his mother named him what she did in Genesis 29:35 and then read Genesis 37 and just make a quick note of how Judah is involved in the story of Joseph and his brothers.
The ONLY redeeming quality of Judah in this story is that he stopped his brothers from killing Joseph. But he did convince the brothers to sell him into slavery. So he did a good thing, but he did a bad thing too- but he could have stopped the whole thing altogether. Then we read chapter 38 & we learned that he didn’t keep a promise to his daughter-in-law, Tamar, & then he unknowingly slept with her and got her pregnant (now, just for reference, she was in no way innocent because she deceived him for her own selfish gain- by dressing as a prostitute and blackmailing him). When Judah heard that his daughter-in-law was pregnant, he planned to have her killed in 38:24
“bring her out and let her be burned!”.
However, this is when his redeeming moment comes; he admits to his fault in not only sleeping with her, but not living up to his end of the deal when he promised his fourth son to her. This is the turning point for him.
This is where his redemption comes in. Judah did some wrong things… some big things… but he admitted them. He repented of his sins. In Genesis 44:18-46:28, we see Judah and the other brothers admit to their wrong doing of their brother Joseph. He continues to repent, or admit wrong, and ask for forgiveness for the things he has done wrong in the past. This is what it means to be redeemed. It doesn’t mean that we never mess up or that we never have to worry about the things we have done in the past, but it does mean we have another chance to get it right. To live better. We can mess up 2 or 3 or 4 or 10 times, but when our heart is truly repentant, we are redeemed by the grace of God.
Before we move on, let’s talk about a repentant heart and grace. It seems, that many people think grace is a get out of jail free card. It’s not! Grace is defined as unmerited favor. Even easier defined, it means that we don’t get what we deserve…like punishment. Eternal, forever, hell-fire punishment- which is what we each deserve. But because of Jesus, we have unmerited favor. Grace. That doesn’t mean we get to commit the same sins over and over, but that our heart is asking for forgiveness and we will not be practicing of that sin anymore. Still a little fuzzy? Let me give you an example: Judah repented of his sin with Tamar. If Judah continued to sin in that same way, sleeping with prostitutes or even lying about his intentions, he would not have truly repented; but that true repentance- that receiving of grace- means that he gets to continue on and do better. It is kind of like vowing to do better and be a better person.
Ok… back on track…
Judah’s story is a HUGE part of how we have been redeemed today. Read Genesis 49:9-12.
What are we looking at here? This is the blessing from his father, Jacob, that has been put in place, by God, to happen. From the very beginning, God had a plan for Judah and even through his mess ups and horrible, dishonest actions, he was still chosen to be in the lineage of Christ. In verse 10, it says
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the people”
Shiloh is Jesus Christ. Through Jacob, God blessed Judah with the ruler’s staff and told all his brother’s that it shall be in his lineage. This is a prophecy of Christ. Do you see it? Do you see the magnitude of that? Jesus who was sent to earth to be our saving grace, came from a line of people who did wrong. Who repented. People who were redeemed by the grace of God. And you think your sin is too big for God to use you? My friend….. I think not.