Genesis 38 is a meanwhile chapter; while Joseph is in the pit of suffering, his faith and trust in the Lord are strengthening. Meanwhile, there are those who are living in the guilt of their sin, and the result is a prevailing wickedness.
So many questions erupted in my feeble, yet earnest, struggle to consider Him in Genesis 38. I have heard sermons on Tamar and Judah, and it appears to me simpler to examine the lives of other failures than to attempt to comprehend Him. But one phrase really jumped off the page, “She is more righteous than I,” [38:26]. And bingo! There it was: our pathetic and laughable tendency to compare ourselves to our own standards and to others. God alone is our standard and there is safety in that; we need never be concerned about His standard changing. There is also danger in that, for we will never measure up. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways…”[Psalm 145:17]. He is righteous in all His ways: the way He thinks, speaks and acts.
It’s disturbing to think of Him striking dead those who do evil. Couldn’t He have given them a second chance? For surely I belong in that group, deserving of death. I confess I don’t much like reading the accounts of His justice. I guess I somehow want a fairy tale ending for the whole world. But I am growing in my strength and commitment to trust Him; He is righteous; and all that He does is in accord with Who He is.
Consider Him Who is Righteous
Righteous: “characterized by uprightness or morality; morally right or justifiable; acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous.”
All that He does is moral and upright. “Good and upright is the Lord…” [Psalm 25:8]. There is no bend or deviation in His dealings with man; all that He does is morally acceptable and completely upright.
All that He does is justifiable. “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He,” [Psalm 32:4]. Though He owes no man any explanation of His actions, His ways are in perpetual keeping with justice. He is the Rock, the God Who is not moved, Whose work is perfect; not even a trace of injustice exists in Him.
How are we to respond to Him Who is Righteous?
- Let us remember He is good and upright, in all that He does. We are called to live by faith, and there will be times we cannot understand what He is doing. In those times, we can trust Him as He is proclaimed in His Word; we can trust Him Who is Righteous to give us the understanding we need for life.
“142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your law is truth.
143 Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
Yet Your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live, [Psalm 119:142-144].
- We do not need to defend Him Who is Righteous, but we are called to defend our hope. We do not have to have all the answers for the difficult questions. We can commit our whole heart to Him, and pray and study His Word so that we can be ready to tell others about the One Who has rooted hope in our hearts, Him Who is Righteous. “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” [1 Peter 3:15].
- Let us run to Him with all our questions; He promises He will not turn us away. As we strive to see Him more and more each day, questions will remain; but may we always and intentionally remember Him Who is Righteous. “Good and upright is the Lord, Therefore He instructs sinners in the way,” [Psalm 25:8]
Let’s Grow Together!