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We Won’t Get It Right Every Time…

“Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.” - Genesis 44:33

Walking the beach, I noticed several smooth, flat, almost-round stones washed up among the shells at the ocean’s edge. Every few steps, I flicked a stone into the water and counted the number of times it skipped across the surface. Some stones were the right shape, size and weight. Some throws had the right angle, force and rotation. But I didn’t get it right every time. Some throws failed and disappeared quickly into the water. Maybe the waves were too high, my technique was off or the stone wasn’t balanced.

Like a skipping stone, Judah didn't get it right every time either. He failed repeatedly, and even fathered children by his own daughter-in-law (Genesis 38). Judah often lost focus on obediently doing what he knew to be right. But with every failure comes an opportunity to grow closer to God and to overcome sin.

In Genesis 44, Judah faced another difficult situation. His brother Joseph, whom he had sold into slavery decades ago, was now Egypt’s second in command. It had been so long since they’d last seen each other that Judah and his brothers didn’t even recognize Joseph. Realizing they didn’t know who he was, Joseph created a character test for his brothers. In this tough moment, Judah could have sold out his younger brother -- just like he sold Joseph -- but he didn’t. He learned from his first mistake, focused on his responsibility to his father, and remembered his promise to protect his youngest brother. Doing what he knew to be right, Judah confronted one of the most powerful men in the world and offered himself as a replacement -- whatever the consequences might be. 

Reflect:

  • Like Judah, we’re not going to get it right all the time either. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). How do you react to your own sin, shortcomings and failures?
  • Judah’s character grew as a result of his mistakes. What might God want to teach you through the personal failures you’re experiencing right now?

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