Week 3, Day 1

An Ugly, Beautiful Mess

We now reach a part of the Joseph story that takes a very odd turn. In fact, the next chapter in the story doesn’t even mention Joseph. Instead, we read about his brother, Judah - the one who proposed selling Joseph into slavery. And it gets really messy - one of those chapters in the Bible that would be Rated R if portrayed on the big screen.

Judah’s family life takes a very dark and destructive turn. But unlike Joseph, most of the problems in Judah’s story are a direct consequence of his own sin and deception. This family has so much potential that is squandered and wasted. It leads to death, lies, sexual immorality, family betrayal, and even a plot to murder.

I’ll be honest. When I take a step back and observe the full stories of Joseph and Judah - it is very easy to give Joseph the “good guy” label and Judah the “bad guy” label. Everything is supposed to work out perfectly for Joseph and terribly for Judah. I mean, Judah sleeps with a woman (Tamar) disguised as a prostitute who is the widow of his oldest son. She was also used and betrayed by his second son. How messed up can you get?

Except, let’s fast-forward to Matthew 1 which outlines the lineage of Jesus: Matthew 1:3 - “Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar...”

Wait, what? There they are, listed among the greats like Abraham, Boaz, King David, and Solomon. In His infinite wisdom, clearly God’s ways are not like our ways. One commentator addresses this by saying, “Scandalous sin needs scandalous grace.”

This week our devotions will address the sins in the family of Judah. They should serve as a warning to us, calling us to avoid repeating their mistakes. But many of us have lived long enough to have enough messes stored up to write our own regretful chapter. Let this week also be a week of hope for you. God is still at work - even in the messes you created.

Week 3 Reading
Genesis 38

Prayer Focus for the Week
Keep Psalm 139:23-24 close to you in prayer:  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Reflection Questions

• Is there anything (habit, relationship, mindset) God is currently leading you to move away from? Is there anything He is leading you to move toward?

• How have you seen God’s faithfulness, mercy, and grace work through your messes in life - even the ones you caused?
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