“More Righteous Than I” – Genesis 38:1-30
Listen to the Sermon:
Hear now the word of the Lord from Genesis chapter 38 starting in verse 1.
38 It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and turned aside to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2 There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. He took her and went in to her, 3 and she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. 4 She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan. 5 Yet again she bore a son, and she called his name Shelah. Judah was in Chezib when she bore him.
6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So, whenever he went in to his brother’s wife, he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. 10 And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also. 11 Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So, Tamar went and remained in her father’s house.
12 In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So, he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.
20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’” 23 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.”
24 About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” 25 As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26 Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
27 When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. 28 And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.
Genesis 38:1-30, ESV
This is the word of the Lord given to us this morning in love.
Well, when I was in college, I took a sociology class as a graduation requirement. While many parts of this sociology class were very interesting. My professor in that class took very strong stances against many of the things that I believed, so I anointed myself as the advocate of the things that I believed in. During the course of that class my hand shot up time and time again to challenge the professor for some of the things that were being said, and this was in a room of about 60 people.
I did this again and again until one time I was doing this, and I saw a girl sitting in front of me who when I did this threw down her pen. Then I could see her mouth the words,
“stop talking.” Well, that was an eye-opening moment for me. I realized that I wasn’t being noble, I wasn’t being bold, I wasn’t being brave. I was being obnoxious, I was being rude, I was being disrespectful in this case.
There are times in our lives when we experience an eye-opening moment, in small ways or in big ways. Times where we suddenly see our sin for what it is. In those times, all the rationalizations that we have been feeding ourselves to justify our sin suddenly fall apart as we see what our sin has been doing to those around us, what our sin has been doing to God, and what our sin is even doing to us. When our eyes are opened the big question we have to ask is, how will we respond?
If you heard in the assurance of pardon and in the song, we sang from Psalm chapter 32, this is a big question. Should I cover over my sin? Should I hide it or should I confess my sin to the Lord? Well, this question is the question that Judah is faced with in this story. How should he respond when his eyes are opened to see his sin for what it is? It’s certainly the question that you and I have every time we come to the word of God and the word of God exposes our sin.
Our big idea today then is this, God opens our eyes to our unrighteousness. This story tells a three-part progression.
1. Blind Eyes
2. Opening Eyes
3. Opened Eyes
As we start with this section of the blind eyes of Judah, we should take a moment and note that what’s going to happen in this story, we’re going to see this in a number of ways, is that this story is going to give us very clear parallels between what’s happening in life of Judah and what happens in the life of Joseph. Now we see this parallel start right away in verse 1 where we read it,
38 It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and turned aside to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. Genesis 38:1, ESV
If you look across the page at the next chapter in chapter 39, we will read now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt. So this is one of the examples, we’ll see more of these, where there’s a parallel between Judah’s life and Joseph’s life. Of course, where we see these parallels, we are also going to see very clear contrasts. Judah is able to go down as a free man, he goes up he goes down wherever he wants to. Whereas Joseph is brought down, he is taken down as a slave against his own will. We should remember that Judah was the one who suggested to the brothers of Joseph that they sell their brother into slavery. So, we’re going to see parallels in clear contrast, that’s one of the dimensions of this story.
The other thing is even though the stories of Judah and Joseph are running somewhat parallel right now, what we’re going to see is the beginning of where the stories of Judah and Joseph converge so that especially Judah is going to become more like his brother Joseph. Judah will become like Joseph beginning in this story. As I said at the beginning of this story Judah is very unlike Joseph. Joseph sees clearly, whereas Judah is very blind, and he lives life like this. Judah is blind yet we read that he sees again and again, but that he does not see rightly. Look at verse 2,
2 There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. He took her and went in to her, 3 and she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. 4 She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan. 5 Yet again she bore a son, and she called his name Shelah. Judah was in Chezib when she bore him.
Genesis 38:2, ESV
Now this language of seeing and taking, Judah sees this woman and he takes her, should be ringing some alarm bells if we’re familiar with our Bibles. This is the language of the very first sin in Genesis chapter 3:6. The woman in that story saw that the tree was good for food, that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise and so she sinned when she took of its fruit and ate it. Seeing and taking, this is an echo of the original sin.
Now here this is describing marriage, to take someone is an act of marriage. This is what Judah is doing, he is marrying this Canaanite woman. Now it’s not a sin to marry. The Bible says this throughout the scriptures and indeed God was the one who ordained the institution of marriage. Where Judah sins here is by marrying a Canaanite.
See in the story leading up to this God had told the great-grandfather of Judah, Abraham, that God was going to remove the people who were living in the land of Canaan, the Canaanites. He was going to utterly remove them from the land because of their sin and wickedness, and instead God was going to bring the nation descended from Abraham and settle them in that land.
So, what we see from a variety of different ways is that God’s people, the people who were descended from Abraham, were absolutely not to intermarry with these wicked Canaanites. They would pollute their own spirituality and it would also jeopardize the promises. How could God both bring the offspring of Abraham and the offspring of Canaanites into the land if their lines were intermarried and intermingled?
So what Judah does here is that he ignores the promise and the command of God, the heavenly promise. He lives faithlessly here. He doesn’t live by faith, instead he pursues an earthly woman, a woman in the land. By sight he lives, by what he can see. He sees but he does not see rightly.
While Judah does not see rightly the Lord sees rightly from the very beginning. This is exactly the way that the Bible tells us this, it puts an emphasis on the Lord’s sight where we see in verses 7 and 10, where the Lord sees the wickedness of Judah’s children. Right out of the gate there’s something spiritually wrong in the family of Judah, especially with the influence of this Canaanite woman but also for Judah’s own sin. So look at verse 6,
6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death.
Genesis 38:6, ESV
Now we are not told why Er was put to death, we are not told what exactly he did to be considered wicked in the eyes of the Lord. What’s very interesting is that the word Er in Hebrew is just two letters long and if you just flip those two letters the other way, you get this word wicked or evil. Spell it one way his name is Er, turn it around and you have evil, and he is indeed evil in the eyes of the Lord.
So, the Lord puts him to death, but then something strange happens that’s difficult for us to get our minds around. In verse 8 we read,
8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” Genesis 38:8, ESV
What Judah was telling Onan to do was to enter into what was called Levirate marriage with Er his deceased brother’s widow, Tamar. Again, this is very hard for us to get our minds around, we don’t do anything like this in our culture. Essentially the idea is that if one brother is married to a woman and the brother dies before the woman can bear him any children, to continue on his name the next brother would then step up to marry that widow. When those two had children, there would be something of a posthumous adoption to the deceased brother so the child born to that marriage would then provide offspring. Again adopted posthumously to the deceased brother to carry on the deceased brother’s line.
Well, the issue for Onan was that Onan was the second born. The firstborn gets the birthright and with the birthright you get a double portion of your father’s inheritance, but if your brother dies, if the firstborn dies, then the inheritance birthright would go to the second born. So if Er has died and he has no offspring then Onan stands to cash in on the birthright, which will then fall to him. What we read here is that Onan knew, in verse 9, that the offspring would not be his. He’s calculating how much money he can get from this situation.
Now Onan could have simply rejected his father’s request. In the Old Testament there was a procedure for turning down the offer of Levirate marriage. This is built into the story of Ruth for example. She enters into Levirate marriage, but one person has to reject her before she can go to Boaz.
Here we have Onan, and he could have refused this, but he does what is absolutely reprehensible in the eyes of the Lord. He is willing to use her sexually, but we read in verse 9,
9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother’s wife, he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. 10 And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also. Genesis 38:9-10, ESV
Well, the Lord sees this exactly for what it is. Again, we read that this was wicked in the eyes of the Lord and that the Lord put him to death also. Judah is scared at this point and the question is how is his line going to be continued? How will God raise up offspring for Judah if his sons continue to die? Judah seems blind to this concern, though he’s not willing to give Tamar his daughter-in-law to the next man up, to Sheila. In verse 11 he pretends that he’s going to though. We read,
11 Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and remained in her father’s house.
Genesis 38:11, ESV
So, Judah again sees the situation, but he doesn’t see it rightly. He lies to Tamar because he thinks that she’s the problem. He doesn’t see that the issue is his sin, and the issue is the sin of his own children which have put them to death, which have come from his sinful marriage to this Canaanite wife. He thinks that Tamar is the problem, she’s bad luck in some sense.
Well, Tamar is blind to the fact that Judah is lying to her, so she does exactly what Judah tells her, at least for a time. It’s at this point we have to ask who is this woman, who is Tamar? In fact, we’re told very little about her. Back in verse six we are told nothing about her except her name. Now that’s somewhat significant because we are never told the name of Judah’s Canaanite wife, but we are told the name of Tamar.
Perhaps the most important information that we learn about Tamar is what we don’t read, never do we read that this woman Tamar is a Canaanite. Now probably she was, it’s hard to know where exactly Tamar would have come from if she wasn’t one of the women of the land, the Canaanites. The scriptures, and this is so important, never identify her as a Canaanite.
Well, here we are seeing the blindness of Judah to his situation and to some extent the blindness of Tamar. Now we have to go to the second section where we see opening eyes. We are going to see the opening of Tamar’s eyes to realize the reality she’s stuck in, and then also we’re going to see the beginning of the opening of Judah’s eyes. Look now in verse 12 where we see the start of the second section, opening eyes, in the course of time.
12 In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. Genesis 38:12, ESV
Now it’s important to notice here that when Judah’s wife dies, Judah is comforted. Remember we’ve already read about two deaths of the immediate family members of Judah, the death of his two sons, and we did not read a word that at any point Judah mourned or that he needed to be comforted. This is in stark contrast to Jacob’s example. If you remember in Genesis chapter 37 when Jacob thought that his son Joseph had died, he mourned grievously and in fact he refused to be comforted. Then 37:34-35 and he says, “no I shall go down to Sheol to my son mourning.” We never read that Judah mourns the death of his sons.
We are seeing here a portrayal of Judah and it’s done in subtle, skillful way by the narrator here. He is a cold, hard, cruel, callous man. He’s not moved to mourn whatsoever by the death of his two older sons. In stark contrast to the way he mourns for his wife, in stark contrast to how Jacob mourned for his son Joseph.
This hard callousness of Judah isn’t new. Remember in the previous chapter Judah was the one who coldly callously suggested that his brothers sell Joseph into slavery. Why? To make a profit from him rather than just killing him and leaving him dead.
Well, as the story continues, we find right away that Tamar’s eyes have been opened, and this is the exact way the narrator tells us this. In verse 13 we read,
13 And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. Genesis 38:13-15, ESV
She sees what’s up, she sees what’s happening, she sees that Judah does not intend to do what he has promised to do. So she puts into place a plan where she dresses up, takes off her widow’s clothing, and instead dresses up as a prostitute and sits, we read in verse 14, at the entrance to Enaim.
Now the ESV doesn’t include a footnote here, but this word Enaim is the word in Hebrew for eyes. This is the exact same word that appeared in verses 7 and 10 to talk about Ur and Onan being wicked in the eyes of the Lord. She’s sitting in a place called eyes and in fact she’s at the entrance to the eyes, or the opening of the eyes is a way to translate this, because this is a place where eyes will be opened. Her eyes are open to her situation and this is the place where Judah’s eyes will begin to be opened.
Like clockwork blind Judah comes along seeing but not seeing.
15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” Genesis 38:15-16, ESV
In verse 15 when Judah saw her, there’s that word again, when Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute. He’s blind to her identity for she had covered her face. Again, in verse 16 we read that he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. So Judah is blind. He sees but he doesn’t see, he’s blind to the identity of this woman whom he takes for a prostitute. We’re also reading here that he is blind to the moral sin, the moral evil of visiting a prostitute.
Now here’s another place where we see a direct contrast between the life of Judah and the life of Joseph. In the next chapter, chapter 39, Joseph is going to face his own sexual temptation. The wife of Potiphar is going to come after him again and again and again asking him to lie with her. We will then see not only a parallel, but a contrast. Joseph will every time refuse that request. He will run from sin, whereas Judah here is the one who is initiating the services of this prostitute. He’s set up in some way, but he’s the one who initiates the interaction.
So blind Judah asks her how he can secure her promises. He promises to give her a young goat, but she asks for a pledge. Judah is so blind, so tunnel visioned, to what he wants in that circumstances that he gives her the farm. He not only promises a goat, but he is willing to give his signet, his cord, and his staff, all of which were personally identifying. As one commentator puts it, this would be like giving all of your credit cards and your driver’s license to this prostitute in order to secure the immediate use of her services.
He’s blind, he doesn’t know what he is doing, he’s headlong into his lust and his sexual sin. It’s clear though that although he is blind to the evil of this, he nevertheless wants to protect his reputation and all this. He wants to avoid the stigma. When it comes time to pay for what he has used, he sends the goat, but he doesn’t personally make the walk of shame back to this place. He sends his friend the Adullamite to deliver the promised goat, back in verse 20.
He goes and looks for her, but of course she’s nowhere to be found because there is no cult prostitute in this area. So he comes back and reports this to Judah and Judah just wants to bury it, let’s just get rid of this. Out of sight, out of mind. I tried but I don’t want to be laughed at in this situation or we shall be laughed at, which in verse 23 is his only concern. He’s blind to the evil of this, of what he has done, but he wants to protect his reputation.
So through this at the end of the second section, Tamar is pregnant now. This is significant and very important because a new lineage has been opened for Judah. He is not aware of it yet, but one that will work around the wife who is identified as a Canaanite that Judah married, the children born to Tamar will be Judah’s and they will not be born to a woman identified as a Canaanite.
Now again Judah does not know what has happened. His eyes are still somewhat cloudy to the situation, but in this final section his eyes will be opened. So that’s the third section, in verses 24-30, opened eyes. In verse 24 word gets to him that Tamar his daughter-in-law has become pregnant by sexual immorality. Judah responds once again with hard cold cruelty. He is blind to his own sin, he just wants to make it go away, he wants to bury it. Yet he becomes inflamed with rage, above what would have been righteous or just in that situation. So he says bring her out and let her be burned.
Now theoretically Tamar was engaged to Judah’s son Sheila, so by becoming pregnant from someone other than Sheila Tamar had committed adultery. The punishment in the Old Testament for adultery was indeed death, but it was death by stoning. It was only the most heinous crimes that would be prosecuted by burning, but that’s immediately where Judah goes even though he is literally guilty of the exact same crime.
When Tamar is coming out on her way to her execution, she sends the signet and the cord and the staff. She asks Judah to identify it and he indeed identifies it, he looks at it and identifies it. This is Judah’s eye-opening moment. This is an eye-opening moment for him because he realizes that he is again guilty for literally the exact same sin and therefore he deserves the same punishment that she is facing.
Judah’s eyes are also opened because he may be realizing that what has happened to him is the exact same thing that he did to his father Jacob. You may remember they took Joseph’s coat, their brother’s coat, and gave it to Jacob and asked Jacob to identify it. Jacob identified it and thought wrongly that Joseph his son had had died. The same words for identified is repeated twice in chapter 37. Also, don’t forget that the brothers had used the blood of a goat to deceive Jacob, whereas Tamar’s purchase price also involved the promise of a goat.
Now we talked last week about how Joseph’s brothers do to Jacob just as Jacob had done earlier in his life to his own father, Isaac, in Genesis chapter 27. Jacob deceived his own father with a goat to make his arms hairy like his brother Esau’s, and clothing of his brother Esau in order to steal the blessing from Esau.
So, what the brothers did to Jacob, they used a goat the blood of a goat and the clothes of Joseph to deceive Jacob. Here Judah has been deceived by clothes, where Tamar put off the clothes of her widowhood and put on the clothes of a prostitute, and with a goat to be deceived in what has happened.
Here Judah’s eyes are open to what is going on, but the question comes back to how then will he respond? Will he try to bury this? Well, his eyes are opened in one more way, which we see at the end of verse 26, when Judah identifies this. We read
26 Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
Genesis 38:26, ESV
It is not that what Tamar has done is righteous in itself. Instead, Judah recognizes that he has committed evil actions from purely evil motivations, while Tamar committed evil actions from good motivations. In that sense she is more righteous than he. Tamar’s motivations were to gain offspring for the great-grandson of Abraham.
His eyes have been opened to his sin, he doesn’t try to hide it, he doesn’t try to deny it, he simply confesses it. This becomes a dramatic turning point, the eye-opening moment in Judah’s story. He begins the story like a blind man, and he acts like it, seeing but not seeing. Through this story his eyes have been opened through the place which is called the opening of the eyes.
Later on, once again we will see Judah interacting with a pledge. It will not be a pledge, in Genesis 43, to try to secure the immediate services of a prostitute. Judah offer instead offer himself as a pledge to protect his younger brother Benjamin. Benjamin, who is the full brother to Joseph, the only other brother who was also born to Jacob’s wife Rachel. Then Judah will make good on his pledge, not just to avoid being laughed at, but Judah will make good on his pledge with such deep-hearted sincerity that he will cite the fact that he is Benjamin’s pledge and offer himself as a substitute slave to protect Benjamin.
It’s then in Genesis 44 that Judah becomes like Joseph. Joseph was the faithful son who, because of his faithfulness, was made to be a slave in Egypt. When Judah goes to Egypt, he will offer himself, as a faithful son, in order to be the substitute slave to protect his brother Benjamin.
So, this story is the beginning, the turning point, the eye-opening moment where Judah comes to look more like Joseph. We should also remember this is also the place where Judah comes to resemble the greatest descendant in his lineage, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, who will come from the tribe of Judah. For that to fill in the dots we have to look at this epilogue, where we see the descendant of Judah through whom Jesus Christ will be born.
In verses 27 through 30 we read about the story of the birth of the twins Perez and Zerah. Like Jacob and Esau, these two twins struggle in the womb of their mother. Zerah is technically the firstborn, he gets his arm out first and they put a scarlet thread on his hand. But the younger Perez struggles to overtake his older brother. Just as the younger brother Jacob had prevailed over the older brother Esau, so now the younger brother Perez prevails over his own older brother Zerah.
Ultimately it will be through Perez that Judah’s lineage leads to David, and beyond David to the Lord Jesus Christ. You will find Tamar and Perez listed in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter one.
How then should we respond to this story? What do we do with this?
1. Well, the question we have to wrestle with is are your eyes opened? First, are your eyes open to see your own sin? The only person in this story who does not see Judah’s sin clearly is Judah himself. Everyone around him can see it, but he is blind to his lack of faith in God’s promises, to the spiritual bankruptcy of his family, to the lies he tells, and to his sexual sins. The Lord sees it immediately and Tamar comes to see it over time.
The extraordinary message of this horrifying story is not about Judah’s sin in itself, it is about the Lord’s extraordinary grace to open Judah’s eyes to see his own sin. God could have left him his own blindness, but God does not. God opens Judah’s eyes to see his sin clearly for exactly the evil that it is.
Now you may be here today feeling deeply uncomfortable as we’ve studied this story, and not necessarily even because of the content of the story, as uncomfortable as this story is. It’s uncomfortable because the Lord may be beginning to open your eyes to your own sin. So the question is how will you respond? You can clench your eyes shut, you can stuff your fingers in your ears to try to avoid it, you can try to bury whatever God is bringing to mind by the work of his Holy Spirit.
Instead, let me point, as surprising as it may have sounded at the beginning of this story, let me point to the example of Judah. Look at what Judah does when he is brought face to face, when he sees his sin. He simply confesses it. He could have tried to cover it up, he could have hardened his heart, he could have existed on carrying out the execution of Tamar along with his twin sons who were growing in her womb. In doing so he would have eliminated any evidence against him for his sin. Instead, he simply acknowledges it, he confesses that he has not acted righteously.
When Christ opens our eyes to our sin, he makes a promise to us, to help us to overcome the hurdle that we may be feeling of an intense desire to cover over our sin in shame. So we read in the Bible in 1 John 1:9,
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9, ESV
If your eyes have been opened to your sin, confess it. Christ pledges he promises to forgive you. Don’t hide it, confess it.
2. The second question to ask then is are your eyes open to see the glory of Christ? The Bible, throughout its pages, contrasts what it is when we see the things of this world. When we set our eyes on this world, against what we should be seeing. We should be gazing upon the glory of Christ.
If our eyes are fixed on the things of this world then we will bump through life like Judah does in this story and in the previous story. When we see an opportunity to profit ourselves, even if it means selling our own brother into slavery, we’ll jump on it. When we see an opportunity for sexual pleasure, even when this is illicit, forbidden, and sinful sexual pleasure, we will run toward it if our eyes are only searching for what we can gain in this world. Instead, the Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Christ.
Now of course we can’t see Christ physically, yet we are waiting for that day. Right now, we walk by faith and not by sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7. What the scriptures give us is a window that we can open up and through which we can see Christ in all of his glory by faith now. So then when he returns, we may gaze upon his glory with his Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, with our eyes by sight.
In 1 John 3:2 we read this,
2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2, ESV
That’s the promise, we can set our eyes on Christ by faith today. The hope that one day we will set our eyes on him in the fullness of his glory forever and ever, when he returns. For now the Bible is teaching us to see Christ’s glory. To see Christ’s glory in his love and mercy toward wretched sinners like Judah, like you, like me, the love and mercy that was poured out for us in his own blood at the cross.
The Bible teaches us to see Christ’s glory in; his power and his victory over sin, death, and the devil, in his righteousness and holiness that he offers to us by faith, in his wisdom as he teaches us to say no to worldly lusts, and in the glory of his coming kingdom. Are your eyes open to see the glory of Christ?
Almighty God, by the power of his Holy Spirit give to each of us eyes to see fully the glory of Christ in his gospel
Let’s pray. Lord we pray that you would indeed open our eyes, to where we have been blind especially to our own sin and to the glory of Christ. We pray that you would help us to clearly see our sin, to confess it, and repent from it, and to turn to Christ by faith who promises to forgive us our sins. We pray this all in the name of our powerful savior Jesus Christ. Amen.