Sin (Genesis 38)

Judah repentence

Do you ever read through the Bible and wonder how such atrocious people somehow ended up being used by God? It’s remarkable, isn’t it?

Take, for example, Jacob and Leah’s son Judah. What an awful human being!

Here are a few highlights of Judah’s life. He conspired with his brothers to kill their brother Joseph and threw him into a pit intending to do just that. Then Judah realized that if they sold him as a slave they could at least get some money for him, so they did that instead.

He then voluntarily left his family and married a Canaanite woman. They raised three sons and the first two were so wicked that God put them to death! Judah then betrayed his daughter-in-law, Tamar, in a major way.

Sometime later he impregnated Tamar, thinking that she was a prostitute, and apparently thought that was A-Okay, but as soon as he found out that his daughter-in-law had behaved like a prostitute his first response was: Burn her to death!

At this point, I’m beginning to wonder why God hadn’t put Judah to death.

But then, we see a remarkable change in Judah. In the end, he is willing to give up his life to save his brother Benjamin. He takes responsibility for his entire family and becomes their leader and eventually, even the Messiah Himself will come through Judah’s family line.

It’s a remarkable transformation and I would contend that it all hinged on this one thing: Judah was confronted with his own sin.

Just as Tamar was being dragged from her house to be burned alive, she sent a message to Judah exposing his sinful behavior toward her. When Judah was confronted with the truth of his wickedness, instead of becoming defensive or making excuses, he saw it for what it was- sin. He repented, spared Tamar’s life and did the best he could to fix the enormous mess that he had made.

That is the beginning of a whole new Judah as we see him in scripture and there is a very real lesson for us.

Transformation in our spiritual lives can’t come if we insist on ignoring our sin. As long as we discount, overlook or disregard our sin it will continue to control us and will eventually destroy us. It is only by recognizing it for what it is and repenting of it that we can be transformed by the grace of God into the person that God always intended us to be.

Let’s not put it off another day!