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Was Judah a rat?

Pastor Donavan
Was Judah a rat?

If you didn’t have the chance to listen to the message from this last weekend – take a listen.  We started a series called ‘redeemed’. 

This message series is looking at the women in the lineage of Jesus – and we began the series with Tamar. It was a really fascinating character study of her – and how the God that we serve is clearly a God of redemption!!

Throughout the sermon I may have eluded to Judah being a rat:) 

Decisive in his actions of sin.   They were in fact – habitual in almost every sense of the word.   But someone has posed the question if perhaps there is more to the story of Judah than I gave credit to.  Is it possible that Judah wasn’t a rat, but rather while growing up became the product of his upbringing?   That’s a great question and it caused me to wonder…

I am not someone who ever wants to give an excuse for someones poor behaviour.  I think we need to take responsibility for our actions in every way.  However, in thinking about this question I began to analyze my own life.   There have been many times in my life where I have worked on trying to change something about me.  One of the areas in my life that has ‘haunted’ me for years is my lack of administrative ability!  Like It is almost non-existent:) I just can’t get it! It feels like no matter how hard I work at it, I somehow seem to blow it!  Now I know that it is not necessarily a sin issue that we are talking about here.  But to change something in me – is hard work – especially when it is a default or habitual.  

So when I think about Judah, I began to wonder about his upbringing.   Why did he respond the way that he did?  What were the other added dimensions that caused him to want to be in a position of power or control?   Were there any valid reasons?  Was his behaviour something that he had tried to change and continually failed – so he just gave up? (again this is not to give him an excuse, but rather to help us understand and have some empathy towards him).  

So here are some thoughts to consider:

1.  He grew up with a Father who didn’t love his mother.   Dad was tricked into marrying his mom.

2. Guessing that the relationship between Dad and his children – at least from Judah’s mother – would have been strained at best.

3. Dad was married to 2 sisters – I can only imagine the jealousy that would have been in this household.

4. Sister number 2 had 2 boys – and clearly Dad loved these ones WAAAYYYY more than Judah and his brothers.  This would have been another level of animosity within the family.

5. When the brothers were to go and look after the sheep in the wilderness – the two brothers of the favourite wife – stayed home.  They were too precious to go out into the dangerous world.

6. I could imagine that Judah was now hurt and angry.  I would imagine he felt betrayed, unloved, not cared for etc.  He had to defend and protect himself because his Dad surely wouldn’t.

It only makes sense to me that in a culture where there is killing, death, animal attacks, poor relationships, long times apart from each other – that one good way to deal with an unwanted sibling (remember there were 10 other brothers) – is to kill them. Remember war was common back then and killing was part of life for most.   So Judah convinces the brother to sell Joseph instead of kill him – mercy perhaps?  ease his conscience?  

– Perhaps this is why he was addicted to sexual activity – he longed to be loved and he settled for lust – women/prostitution?

– Maybe he felt belittled his whole life – And only when he got angry would people actually listen to him.  Perhaps anger caused him to feel empowered.  Perhaps it only made sense to have anger break forth.  

Then, to regain control of his out of control life – he demanded that Tamar be killed for her ‘affair’.  After all he was more guilty then the accused.  I would guess that he actually hated himself and so he lived by law alone not empathy, compassion and love. So Tamar needed to die.

All of these things are very possible!  It doesn’t excuse his behaviour – but it sure helps me to understand why he was the way that he was!!  

I think we are like this too.  As we begin to understand each other, It helps us to empathize with each other!  This to me is the hope in the message of Tamar and of Judah.   They both come from opposites ends of the spectrum – and the answer for both of them?   TURN TO GOD!   Repent of wrong doing, make things right and obey Him!

So is Judah a rat? Yes, if its possible for rats to be redeemed by our loving Savior :).

God most definitely redeems!  And it doesn’t matter what your past or present is!  I am so thankful that our King is a God of redemption!!

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