Friday, October 15, 2010
Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life
I had gotten no further than two verses into my weekly Bible Reading when I was struck by the phrase "For Judah himself proved to be superior among his brothers."
Wait a minute, I said to myself. Judah joined in pillaging the Shechemite city after his brothers had murdered all the males. He had a share in the selling of Joseph into slavery and the following deception of Jacob. He married a Canaanite woman, a non-worshipper of Jehovah, and then later had intercourse with Tamar while he thought she was a prostitute! And he was superior?!
Okay, it's possible I'm slightly judgemental. But, seriously. So I pulled up the reference materials and was scolded soundly and readjusted firmly. It's easy to focus on the errors that people make. They are more sensational, they make a stink, and they stick in the mind. But did I remember that two of the aforementioned incidents occurred before Judah was 20? He was still quite young, and under the influence of older brothers. His judgment was not fully developed. It is significant that by the time he was 20 he had moved, leaving his brothers. Was he perhaps saying by this action "I think I need to put some space between us for my own good. I don't like the person I am with you."?
By the time that famine had forced the family to go to Egypt for food Judah has grown, matured. He promises Jacob that he will be surety for the safety of Benjamin. When valuables are found in Benjamin's bag Judah pleads in behalf of Benjamin and Jacob. He asks to take Benjamin's place in slavery. His obvious change in character is so moving that Joseph breaks down and identifies himself. He had developed qualities of trustworthiness, leadership, reliability.
I reminded myself how glad I am that Jehovah doesn't hold our past offences against us. He holds out hope for us that we will grow, mature, make better decisions. Each and every day, each minute even, is an opportunity for us to do better. Lesson learned. Starting over. Again.
*image from blackchristiannews.com