Summary: God doesn't perfect us... then bring us into the church and into church leadership. He perfects us through change, challenge and allows His will to be done through imperfect people.
Have you ever felt like life never goes the way you plan it? In my life, I had plans to do different things. When I was young, before even being a teen I wanted to be a professional football player. I used to play backyard football with all my friends and with my favorite cousin, Tim. We would win all the time against my oldest brother and his best friend. I thought for sure I would be a pro football player. I didn’t realize there was so much pain involved until I joined the midget football team. Boy did that help me to realize that it wasn’t my calling in life!
I played football all the way through high school on the football team but the reality is that I was never one to look for and enjoy the full-contact part of the sport. At one point, I wanted to be a rock star lead singer. At the time I idolized the lead singers from groups like Foreigner, Styx, Loverboy and even Queen. Then I wanted to be an artist… and low and behold I did end up doing that.
But life takes funny turns sometimes. There were things that happened in life that weren’t what I would consider… the things in life that I wanted to happen. There was physical abuse, sexual abuse and divorce in my family growing up. There was alcoholism and other things that I don’t need to mention any more about but you get the idea. Life is not perfect. Life is messy and actually very much NOT perfect.
As I read through our scriptures this week I was reminded that the scriptures don’t hold anything back. I guess what I am saying is that even though God is the creator and made things perfect; the whole reality is that when Adam and Eve took of the apple in the garden. Things REALLY got messed up for us many generations later.
Let’s take a look at what was going on with Joseph’s older brother Judah in the book of Genesis 38. And keep in mind that Judah grew up in a home of his father Jacob, one of the great patriarchs of our faith.
1. Life never goes as planned (by us!)
Judah and Tamar
1At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her; 3she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan.
5She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him. 6Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death.
Let’s take a break in the reading for a moment to recognize exactly what has happened here ok? First of all we see that Judah, a son of Jacob leaves his family to hang out with a friend of his instead of attending to the flocks of his father.
I am wondering in my heart if Judah didn’t meet with this woman some other time before this coincidence. Judah left his family, moves down and now is all of a sudden married to a Canaanite woman. Do you remember how Abraham and Jacob felt about Canaanite people? Not good! So I am sure Judah didn’t get permission from dad. So, probably against the wishes of his Godly father and relatives, Judah marries a woman of no or not good faith. And then he sleeps with her and gets married. Do you see where things are going here?
Listen to what is says in Gal. 6:7-9
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that naturea will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
You know how sometimes God allows us to reap what we sow? Well, Judah was not doing the Lords will and look what happens. Shua has a baby and what is he like? Yep, he is wicked and the Lord kills him! I am sure the mother of his son and the people around him were influencing him and not in a good way. So, he loses his first son because he is not in the Lords will in many ways.