Why Will You Die, Israel? “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:10-11)
Still thinking of Judah, of how his life gave praise to God. He was not a spiritual giant. People never want to be more like Judah. There are songs and sermons about Joseph and nothing about Judah.
Judah was a mean, envious and bitter man. He was the one who suggested to sell Joseph, manipulating his brother to accept his idea. Moreover he left his family and married a Canaanite. Then he refused to give Tamar, his daughter-in-law, to his youngest son and slept with her thinking she was a prostitute.
But God’s grace looks beyond our sins and blesses repentance. Judah could have let Tamar be burned, but instead he recognised his unrighteousness. He could have taken advantage of her, but never touched her again (Genesis 38:24-26). Then he went back to his family (Genesis 42:1-3) and used his influence for good. He took not only the place, but also the responsibility of the leader (Genesis 43:1-10). And when Joseph wanted to keep Benjamin as slave, Judah offered to take his place. His bitterness and envy were gone and replaced by compassion and mercy. He was ready to die to serve the other most loved son (Genesis 44).
Judah was a sinner. The kind we can easily look down upon. But he had a repentant heart. The kind of heart that pleases God. And therefore his life praised the Lord.
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus… (Acts 3:19-20)