Read: Gen. 38:1-30
“Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, ‘Come now, let me sleep with you.’ ‘And what will you give me to sleep with you?’ she asked.” Genesis 38:16
That’s messed up. Every time I read Genesis, that’s my response. These people were wildly dysfunctional and wrecked by sin. In this account, a father-in-law promises his daughter-in-law that he would provide his next son as a husband for her since her first husband (his son) died. This was the right thing to do in their culture, but he just kept putting her off, never intending to make good on that promise.
She gets tired of being left out to dry so she disguises herself, dresses up like a prostitute and sleeps with her father-in-law (vomit in mouth), and becomes pregnant. Later, when it’s discovered that she’s pregnant, the father-in-law tries to have her killed for her sin.
So she provides proof that he’s the father of the baby. She has twins and they all live happily ever after. Thats messed up!!! I don’t care who you are – this makes Honey Boo Boo’s family look sane.
It’s not just Judah though. The whole book of Genesis is full of dysfunctional people doing sinful things, and in the end, they are the fathers of the faith, the ancestors of Jesus, and through them comes the hope of the world.
It’s important to note that nowhere does Bible condone the sinful behavior of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the faith. The Bible just lays it out there. That’s part of what confirms the authenticity of the account. I mean, who would air their family’s dirty laundry with such graphic detail unless they’re simply trying to give an honest account of what happened.
For us today, I think this gives hope and perspective. Hope, in that God delights in redeeming the stories of sinful, messy, dysfunctional people. That’s good news for me and you. Because we’re all sinful, messy, and to varying degrees, dysfunctional. When you find yourself asking, “could God use me?” – read Genesis. The answer is a resounding YES!!!
It gives us perspective in that God seeks to rewrite the stories of the messy people. So often Christians and Churches become gatherings of people who just want to learn more and become better than the world around them.
Now, I won’t argue with the desire to learn and improve, but we often lose sight that God has plans to change the world, change humanity, to redeem the story of us all, and He delights in using messy people – often people we would disqualify. Think about it… if it were up to us most of the cast of Genesis would have been kicked out of God’s family.
Genesis points us outward toward the messy people in our world that God wants to save, heal and restore – those He wants to use in the writing of the next chapter of redemption. We can’t blow them off and circle up in holy huddles. In fact, we must wade through the mess, offer grace, and help them find their Father who loves them. Then we get to watch what God will do in them and through them.
None of us are so messed up that God can’t reach us and use us. Good news!!
Father – thanks that you don’t write people off, but redeem our messes. Help me to walk in your redemption today, and help me to extend that grace to those around me that I am tempted to write off. You are amazing… In Jesus’ name, amen.