Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Judah's Praise

    Here's the second Jesse Tree entry, the one on Judah

    Judah was Jacob’s fourth son and the son of tag-on wife Leah. He wasn’t

in a position to compete for his father’s love like Reuben the first-born or Joseph and Benjamin the sons of beloved Rachel. As a young man he seems to have been resentful and scheming. It was Judah who realized that the brothers could still get rid of Joseph and make a profit if they sold him into slavery instead of killing him. Later he became a double crosser and a lecher who unknowingly slept with his daughter in law, whom he was cheating, thinking she was a prostitute. When his sin was made known, he had to publicly acknowledge the women he was about to burn for her sin was “More righteous than I.” He was the fourth in a string of disappointing sons for Jacob.

But there came a day when Judah’s story changed. In the face of a past of bitterness, greed, scheming, double-dealing and lechery there came a day when he offered his life for another. Judah, who had hated Joseph, offered to guarantee Benjamin’s safety so the brothers could return to Egypt and buy food for their starving family. When Benjamin was threatened with Egyptian slavery for theft, Judah offered to take his place and so save Jacob from fatal grief. At the end of his life, Jacob prophesied of Judah that the scepter would never depart nor the ruler’s staff leave his feet. From Judah’s son Perez, born of adultery with Tamar, came the line of David and the kings of Israel and the Savior of the world.

Judah seemed a failure, but God changed his heart and gave him a place in the plan of redemption. Is your life like Judah’s? Do you feel like you’ve let down God and those who have counted on you? Ask God to change your heart and renew you like Judah. Judah’s name means “praise.” Wherever you are in life, take the time to praise God for the redemption and freedom that come through Judah’s son Jesus.

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