Thursday, 19 November 2020
Title: God Forgives You
Author: Arnold Lim
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Consider the life of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and Leah. Judah, together with his brothers, sold their youngest brother, Joseph, as a slave to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. This marked the start of his downward spiral into more sin.
Not long after, he left his comfortable home. Why, you may ask? Perhaps, he could not face his father after what he had done. He felt guilty as his God-given conscience ate at him. It’s a terrible thing to be wrecked with guilt, day after day.
He married the daughter of a Canaanite man, although it was specifically prohibited by God. They had three sons: Er, Onan, Shelah. Er married Tamar. Then tragedy struck. In Genesis 38:7, we find that Er was so wicked, the Lord put him to death. The second son, Onan, was then asked to fulfil his obligations according to customs of the time, by marrying Tamar, so that she could have a son. He married her but refused to give her a son. His refusal was wicked in the Lord’s sight, so Onan was also put to death.
From here, it gets even more interesting, to put it mildly.
Judah proceeded to push Tamar out, forcing her to return to her family, believing her to be bad luck. But Tamar was not to be out-manoeuvred. After returning to her family and out of desperation for a son, she disguised herself as a prostitute and enticed Judah to sleep with her when he was on one of his business trips. Judah, now hit rock bottom, having committed incest with his daughter-in-law. To cut the story short, Judah’s sin, like all sins, was later exposed by Tamar. (You can read the story in detail in Genesis 38.)
Did Judah repent? Did God forgive Judah? How did Judah’s life end?
In Genesis 44, we see Judah as a changed man. He has returned to his family and is now taking charge in a time of famine. We see the brothers going to Egypt to get grain and in the process encountering Joseph, now the Prime Minister. After Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son, is accused of stealing a silver cup, Judah is willing take his brother’s place, to become a slave in Egypt. In Genesis 49, Jacob, near death, blessed Judah as a “lion’s cub with a sceptre and a ruler’s staff between his feet … and the obedience of the nations is his.”
God, in His grace and mercy, forgave and restored Judah; Judah and Tamar are even included in the genealogy of Jesus, found in Matthew 1.
You might be in the middle of a downward spiral into sin. Stop and repent like Judah did, while there is still time. And seek God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you because He loves you. Do not follow Judas Iscariot to destruction. He started out as a thief, betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and ended his life by hanging himself.
Or you may have sinned in the past; made bad financial decisions that impacted your family; caused broken family relationships. Whatever it is, repent and seek God’s forgiveness and mercy.
God forgave Judah and He will forgive you. Have faith in how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:18) and that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).
O Lord and Heavenly Father, You are a loving god, full of grace and mercy. Because of Your great love for us, You do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Instead, You caused Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins to redeem us and make us righteous in Your sight.
We thank You, O Lord, and we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.