It’s curious that God chooses Judah, and not Joseph, to continue the family line to Jesus. If there was an application and interview process conducted by one of today’s recruiting firms, surely the outcome would have been different.
The forefamily of Jesus. Worldly, wicked, adulterous liars. Huh.
But God chooses the failures…the broken, time and time again, to fulfill his purpose. Jesus’ own family is an ironic snapshot of why his forgiving sacrifice is so vital. If we could earn favor and forgiveness through our own righteous actions, then surely God would have also chosen a more righteous family to produce his perfect Son.
Instead, he chooses Judah, who is so enraged by his daughter-in-law’s immoral actions that he is completely oblivious to his own. And isn’t that how we still are today? So quick to see the error in others. So quick to point out sin and weirdness and idiosyncrasy in others, while we bask in our own.
There is great comfort here. And great caution.
The comfort is in God’s choosing of Judah…despite (and perhaps because of) his deficiencies. If Judah isn’t rejected, then how can we be? By his grace I am accepted. Not by good behavior. As I recognize my sin and repent, fully dependent on his righteousness, I am accepted…and loved. And that’s a beautiful, comforting thing.
The caution is in the breakdown of Judah’s family, as a result of not putting God’s desires above their own. Judah marries outside his faith, his sons are corrupt, he isn’t true to his word, he pursues and has sex with (what he thinks is) a prostitute. His family is broken by sin. Today, families are torn apart by the same things.
There really isn’t anything new under the sun. Clear back in Genesis Four, God warns that sin is crouching at our door. It desires to have us but we must rule over it. Thousands of years later, Satan is still desperately trying to destroy families. So, what must we do? We must rule over temptation by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. We must use God’s Word as a sword in the fight. And we must never…never…turn our eyes away from what God desires.
Genesis Twenty Eight is a beautiful snapshot of how God chooses the ugly, sinful, brokenness of the world and – by his righteousness – makes it into something more beautiful than we can ever imagine.