One of the greatest examples of the intensity of lustful cravings is found in Genesis 38. It really is an amazing Chapter socked between the events of Joseph’s life. Judah, being an elder brother of Joseph was a part of selling his brother to a foreign country, an act that no doubt weighed on his sick heart. When a heart is guilty, we will do whatever it takes to cover it up.
Chapter 38 Judah get’s involved in the world of the Canaanites. By the way, the Canaanites had a different set of morals. They did things differently, no doubt. There are so many voices today discussing sex, sexuality, sensuality, and why it is good to indulge, as long as you indulge in a certain, considerate way.
Freud (God is just an illusion), Kinsey (legitimizing immorality) were prototypes of what would later come in today’s Psychology. All there work has one substantial idea; There is no God, or God of the Bible. As Freud pointed out,”At bottom God is nothing more than an exalted father.”
Judah no doubt, was influenced as we all are. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1st Corinthians 15:33
Judah sees a fine looking Canaanite women and marries her. It is amazing to realize that the eyes once again are getting man into trouble. Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes. Proverbs 27:20
This will be a theme in the chapter, as it is with many of our lives.
As we move on in the Chapter, Judah now sees a prostitute who happens to be his daughter in law.
“When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; because she had covered her face.” Genesis 38:15
The lust is so intense in him, that he prays or begs for an opportunity to sleep with her! Judah was a young teen at the time. 16yrs of age approximately according to the Bible scholar Matthew Henry. Judah like so many teens after him cannot deny the lust that haunts him. Judah “turns” to her.
Now comes the giving of our possessions for our lustful desires. Judah in exchange for the sex, gives her a ram as a promise and to show that he is true to his word, his prize possession of a signet ring and bracelets were given too.
C.S. Lewis wrote that a man with an obsession has very little sales resistance. When lust comes calling, we will we give up all that we have for it? This is the incredible insanity of it all. The heart affects the eyes, which in turn affect the heart.
What have we given up to get our own sexual gratification? For some it has been the most cherished relationship we have ever had, our spouses. Oh, how this sin cuts at our heart and must be cast down to the ground as a filthy idol that cannot help us in the slightest.
I will like you to read from Matthew Henry’s commentary at this point.
kid from the flock, a goodly price at which her chastity and honor were valued! Nay, had the consideration been thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil, it had not been a valuable consideration. The favour of God, the purity of the soul, the peace of conscience, and the hope of heaven, are too precious to be exposed to sale at any such rates; the Topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal them: what are those profited that lose their souls to gain the world? 3. It turned to the reproach of Judah that he left his jewels in pawn for a kid. Note, Fleshly lusts are not only brutish, but sottish, and ruining to men’s secular interests. It is plain that whoredom, as well as wine, and new wine, takes away the heart first, else it would never take away the signet and the bracelets.
Doesn’t the indulgence in pornography or other sexual sin take away the security we have in Christ? Oh, the inner emptiness of the soul when lust is taken over a person of God. It is aweful the utter feeling of surrender to indulgence. Though the world tells you it is fine, go for it, there are no consequences. It is not true. It is a boldface lie from the pit. They know it and you know it. For what happens when a famous one does indulge? Why the news of such scandal if it is ok to do? The world is loaded with contradictions. Let’s realize they do not have the answers. Fight against it! Don’t give up!
We get an insight into Judah’s heart after the deed was done in verse 23. “Let her take them, lest we be shamed…”
This is what the fulfilling of lust will give us. Shame! It’s that awful feeling from the inner person who knows he has done wrong. This is what the unbeliever needs to sear or cut off to continue on the path.
Do you feel awful when you indulge? Good! Your conscience is alive!
Judah was afraid of what others would say about his actions. He desired an anonymity to his behavior like the internet gives us, but he had none. Can you relate to this? What have you done to cover your actions? What were you afraid off?
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25
The harlot goes public and Judah faces up to what he did. This is why it is best to confess with someone of what you have done, namely God. But Judah does acknowledge in the end his foolishness, (vs. 26). And from that time he did not have relations with her again.
There is a lesson learned for young Judah. We too need to learn from our mistakes, and learn to think differently. There is incredible insecurity in sinful actions. I know it! “But whoever trust in the Lord is kept safe.” There is nothing that selfish lustful inclinations will do to help or keep us protected. But from this event we see that it will take our possessions and even our reputation, which when gone, is very hard to get back.
The beautiful grace of God is also available to us as it was to Judah. Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). This is no small title for the Son of God. Jesus is from the seed of King David, who was from his father Jesse, of the Tribe of Judah. And if we keep going back through his grandfathers we will see that this harlot that Judah went into had a baby named Perez. This is the Perez mentioned in the following passage of Ruth.
Ruth 4:18-22 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.
And here in the book of Matthew chapter 1.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.
God’s grace always abounds! I believe that do you?
How does the passage (Romans 5:20), “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more,” relate to this chapter?
What do you learn from Judah and this encounter that he has?
What influences in our lives lead us into immorality?
What does the non-believing world tell us about sexual sin?
How does the heart of mankind affect the eyes and in turn, the eyes of mankind affect the heart?
How has shame played a role in your life?
What is the remedy for our shame?
Listen to the following message by Pastor John Piper on Justification: