Our church has been reading through the last portions of Genesis this week. So as I was reading, I couldn’t help but think in chapter 38 how hypocritical Judah was. He had been negligent in his duties as to the custom of his day in securing a mate for his widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar. This was known as a “levirate marriage” where a relative would be secured to marry the widow and raise children to the name of the deceased. Circumstances were such that Tamar, seeing he’d neglected to secure a new husband for her, resorted to trickery. She disguised herself as a prostitute and displayed herself where Judah would be during sheep shearing time.
Tamar conceived through this and was found with child and naturally assumed by the townspeople to have been immoral. Judah being told of this news stated very hypocritically “Bring her out and let her be burned !” (vs.24). While she was being brought out for execution (still as the hypocrites of the Middle east do to this day) she wisely informed the mob, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” (vs.25). She had some possessions belonging to self-righteous Judah (his cord, signet & staff – definite articles of his to clearly implicate Judah and protect Tamar !).
What more could Judah say but, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her my son Shelah”. His refusal to offer his son in the Levirate marriage was a lack of trust in God and a lack of compassion for Tamar. When we put self above God and others, we not only lose credibility in our witness but we become hypocritical especially whenever we try to raise a voice for truth. Granted, every single one of us has at one time or another been hypocritical, we are sinners after all. But thankfully this chapter shows us what to do when our deeds fail to match good words. We do what Judah does here. We admit the error of our way and confess it to God and anyone else we need to and God is then pleased and we have a fresh start and more credibility in our life and ministry for God. A powerful example is when you fail your kids in some way. If you lose it and yell at them sinfully or misjudge them by being too lazy to seek out the truth and just blame them. You apologize and make things right and you show them, yes, you are a sinner just like them but you are also serious about dealing with sin and being about truth, or as Judah said it, being righteous !!
Maybe you have played the hypocrite lately. Its much easier to focus on others’ sins and rant about them and fail to focus on God and what He is trying to change about us. When you recognize you’re being like Judah, be like Judah !! Admit it and don’t worry about other’s not accepting your apology, God will, and He will help you to be more righteous as you trust Him and follow His Word !