I remember just bits of an old gospel song that fits so well with what I read this morning. The gist of the song was this: I may not be where I want to be in Christ yet but thank God, I’m not where I was. As I read of Judah in Genesis 44, I get the feeling he would love that song!
Judah and his 10 brothers stood unknowingly before their brother Joseph. Pharaoh’s prime minister had devised a test of sorts to see if his brothers had changed in the years since they sold him into slavery. Before the brothers departed Egypt the second time, Joseph had his silver cup put in Benjamin’s bag. The brothers made it only a short distance before Joseph sent someone after them to find the cup, accuse them of stealing, and bring them back. Joseph offered to let 10 go home and just keep Benjamin, the youngest, but the brothers would not hear of it as Judah stepped up to the mic to plead their case. As they spoke through an interpreter, Judah sketched out the story of their father Jacob who lost his favored son Joseph but who still had his other favored son, Benjamin. Judah explained how he took responsibility for returning his brother to their father unharmed.
While the treacherous act of selling Joseph involved most of the 10 of the brothers, let’s focus on Judah in particular and look at 3 events he was involved in.
First, Judah was the brother who suggested selling Joseph rather than killing him so his blood wouldn’t be on their hands. What a strange way of reasoning…
Second was the whole story of Judah and Tamar. He didn’t act honorably with her but he eventually made things right (Gen 38)
Now the third… Judah before Joseph willingly put in life on the line for Benjamin. Through his story, Judah let it be known that Benjamin was their father’s favorite yet instead of jealousy, this older brother was looking out for the baby of the family as well as his father. Talk about a change of heart and growth in maturity since their actions concerning Joseph.
The point? Like Judah, we can all look back in our lives and regret decisions made. Yet those actions made us who we are today. Judah’s willingness to stand in the gap for Benjamin was directly linked to his failure to watch out for his younger brother Joseph. Sure, we all want to make the best choices and not have regrets but that doesn’t always happen. I propose this morning that we stop and look back… not with a heart of regret but instead with a heart of thankfulness that we have grown in Christ and are not the person we used to be. Let’s be thankful for a God who can take our bad choices, help us mature, and make good come from them. Thank you, Lord, for using my mistakes and regrets as a learning tool. Help me to keep growing and maturing in you and may the glory be all yours! Amen!