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Genesis 38: 1-1B
Welcome to a very exciting study on the character of Judah. Our character study will be located in Genesis 38. The chapter appears like an interruption of developing story of Joseph and how God dealt with him and blessed his faithfulness in the midst of great adversity. Unlike Judah who failed the test of integrity, Joseph experiences the essence of integrity and embodies what it means to live a life of integrity even in the midst of family feuds. Genesis 38 depicts both the judgment of a righteous God and the abundance of his grace.

Integrity is generally understood as honest without compromise or corruption. While the life of Joseph is characterized by non- compromise and great honesty, Judah on the other hand is embroiled in deep dishonesty and compromise both in his personal character and in the way he handled himself within his family interaction.

Integrity as a virtue is not something we pass on, but something that has to be nurtured and developed with time. The aspect of compromise is seen in how Judah handled the case of his brother Joseph when he faced the wrath of his brothers as they conspire to kill him. In this scenario Judah seemed to protect his brother, yet he compounded and became part of the plan to sell him to the Israelites. We can infer from the developing story that due to the sin committed, Judah decided to leave his brothers and fled to Adullam [Genesis 38: 1] where he met his future wife, a Canaanite women. The unfolding events clearly demonstrate that the absence of integrity leads to destruction. Judah's choice to marry from the ungodly Canaanite culture opened opportunities for self-destruction.

The life and family of Judah has the following lessons on family integrity.

Integrity starts at home [Psalm 10:2]: “I will walk in my house with blameless heart” the scripture emphasizes the need to build very strong family foundations for prosperous families. The foundation that Judah set for his family was weak from the beginning. He married from an ungodly culture that did not give him the opportunity to thrive spiritually. The end result is that he fell prey to tragedy after tragedy. Finally he failed to give guidance to his own children. God calls on us to walk blamelessly in our families.

We must uphold and keep promises in our families: Judah as a father in–law has the obligation to fulfill the promise made to Tamar, his daughter in-law because Levirate marriages were generally accepted in order to maintain family lineage. [Genesis 38 Vs 11]. This led to Tamar into taking the matter into her own hands for she saw that though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife. Judah's action led to distrust and put Tamar on the line of temptation. God calls on us to develop a culture of trust in our families. Judah's promise to Tamar to “live as a widow in her father's house until his son grew up was not honoured verse 11.

That God will not accommodate himself within our will: God struck down the sons of Judah because of their sin. While God is a God of immeasurable grace, his judgement over sin is unstoppable while opening a widow of grace at the same time. God tempers his anger with his grace and mercy.

Finally, God is calling on us to make an honest audit of our lives and be honest as believers about issues in our families that we need to confront and ask for God's mercy and pardon. The sin of incest, corruption and divorce were apparent in the life of Judah though he belonged in the family of promise. May the Lord help us to embrace integrity in our families.

Pastor's Weekly Corner

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Lavington United Church was founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) as a community church to minister to the Lavington community. <<Read full History>>

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