An Awful Lot Of Scandal: Part I

Heartbroken by NanFe

Heartbroken by NanFe

I have a past that includes promiscuity and adultery. I believe this fact is one of the things that drives me to love Jesus so vehemently. Like He said to Simon the Pharisee, one who is forgiven much, loves much but one who is forgiven little, loves little.

Lately, though, my past has been driving me in another direction: performance-based faith. I’ve been subconsciously trying to “earn” God’s love or “pay Him back” for His gift of Jesus’ life, with my actions. All the while, in the back of my mind, is the belief that I’ll never be pleasing to God because of my past; I’ll never be worthy of His love; He’ll never be able to use me powerfully because I haven’t been able to walk the straight and narrow (like Joseph…or Daniel…). This has been a pretty crippling issue lately; it keeps me from reaching out to the people around me. It also keeps me from fully using the gifts and talents He’s given me to reflect His glory; I figure I’m not worthy, so why bother?

Well. Yesterday, I learned a very, very interesting thing about Jesus’ past.

You know how the Bible calls Him the Lion of Judah? He’s called that because He was a descendant of the tribe of Judah. Do you know who Judah was? I didn’t. I mean, I’d read about Judah before but I never made the connection that 1.) he was Joseph’s brother and 2.) he’s the man that God chose to continue Christ’s lineage. So let me tell you about Judah.

1. He participated in the plan to murder his brother Joseph. (Genesis 37:18-28) Reuben suggested they spare him by throwing him into a pit, rather than killing him. Apparently, Reuben intended to return Joseph to his father later. It’s noted in my Bible’s commentary that Reuben may have been trying to get back in his father’s good graces after having slept with one of his father’s concubines. It seems that at some point, while Reuben was not around, Judah suggested they sell Joseph because “what is our gain if we kill him and cover his blood?” So Judah was the brain behind selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. (That’s only ten pieces less than the price that Jesus was sold to the guards for, by Judas.)

2. Judah’s firstborn son was evil. In fact, he was so evil that God put him to death! (Genesis 38:7)

3. He was not a man of his word. It’s a long story, so I’ll let you read it for yourself, if you like (Genesis 38), but the short version is, he promised his daughter-in-law something and didn’t deliver.

4. He apparently visited the local prostitutes rather frequently; this is how his daughter-in-law was able to deceive him and manipulate him into keeping his word — which also resulted in illegitimate twins!

The Bible is very clear about God’s sovereignty; He does what He wants when He wants through whomever He wants. He is not bound by man’s choices. Knowing all of that, don’t you find it interesting that He *chose* to go through Judah’s line in order to bring Jesus into the world? And get this: not only did He choose to go through Judah, He chose to go through one of the illegitimate twins birthed between him and his daughter-in-law!

If you take a closer look at the lineage of Jesus, there are some other noteworthy characters:

1. “The wife of Uriah” – Bathsheba, the one that David committed adultery with.

2. David himself, an adulterer AND a murderer.

3. Guess who else? That’s right, Solomon, the son of Bathsheba and David!

God, despite being sovereign, did not choose to keep the lineage of Jesus free from scandal. Why is that? Since God is holy and righteous, and since He despises sin, wouldn’t it stand to reason that He would use the most moral and righteous people to bring His Son into the world?? People like Joseph, who despite being sold into slavery by his brothers, did not hold it against them? Why would God CHOOSE to use people like Judah, Bathsheba, Tamar, and David? People with pasts and pretty scandalous ones, at that.

This is the question I went to bed chewing on last night. And God gave me a few insights. But I’m not going to share them with you today because it’s a question worth chewing on and I want you to have a chance to see what God would have you discover through that question. For some of you, the insights seem obvious. I will tell you, there were obvious insights to me too, but God nudged me last night to go deeper and doing so eventually brought tears to my eyes. So I would encourage you not to settle for the obvious. Sit down with God and take it a little deeper.

Mind you, there is not ONE right insight. And you may or may not come up with the same ones that I did. But I *do* think you’ll come up with More Than The Obvious if you give God a chance to speak to you, and I’m positive it will be a joyful experience.

Later this week, I’ll share what I gleaned from chewing on this particular question. I think I’ll even take the opportunity to chew on it some more.

Feel free to comment on this post or send me a message sharing the insights that God gives you. (And let me know if you’d be okay with me sharing them in my next post.)

For now, I will leave you to your chewing. ;)

 

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14 thoughts on “An Awful Lot Of Scandal: Part I

  1. This reminder, that we’ve ALL descended from the tribe of Judah, in one way or another, is amazing. There are a few things that immediately popped into my head as I was reading your words. 1.) Thank God that I, too, have descended from scandal – or my own would be too heavy to bear. 2.) Thank you Lord for you promise to Never leave me or forsake me. Never. and 3.) Thanks be to our God for giving you the sacred gift of words. Words that might very well begin to heal a fractured heart upon this very reading of your post. We are so tender, us and our hearts, and sometimes, we just need to hear (or be reminded) that there is Nothing that can separate us from the love of our Savior. Not. Even. Scandal. I <3 you so.

    • You know, it’s interesting that you mention God’s promise to never leave us because that has hit me anew a couple of times this past week. I was under such heavy oppression last week and once or twice, it would suddenly hit me that Jesus is with me right now. It’s stunning that I could even forget that, but I did. And what a change in perspective when I would remember that He was there! I am thankful that He made that promise too, and that He’s kind enough to remind me when I forget. ;)

      It’s moving to hear you say that He has given me “the sacred gift of words” because I truly feel so clumsy with them. I LOVE words and I love to use them, but I still feel clumsy. Sort of like a certain friend I have who loves swords and loves to play with them, but would probably consider herself clumsy with one. :D

      It’s also moving to hear that this might well be the beginning of your own fractured heart healing because I can tell you, writing it was the beginning of healing for mine. And I have long yearned for this healing…

      I love you back, Missy. Thank you for your honest and heartfelt words. <3

    • (For what it’s worth, Missy, I DID receive your comment FIVE DAYS AGO; I just now saw it starred in my inbox, along with Susan’s. So now I recall that my intention was to write back from the PC rather than my phone because I knew my replies would not be concise. ;))

  2. Thank you for honestly sharing your heart, Fae. We are all in desperate need of God’s mercy.

    God could not use the most moral and righteous of people to bring His Son into the word because there ARE no moral and righteous people. None of us are good because we are born into sin with no way to make it right. The Bible is not about a collection of heroes. There is ONE Hero and His name is Jesus. The Bible is a catalog of sinners that God saves. Jesus died for all of us when we were still His enemies.

    The Bible is about God’s movement toward us..not the other way around. We do not ascend to God on the basis of our worthiness (we have none) but He descends to us in the Person of Jesus. He is a God of radical grace to sinners. He loved us from the foundation of the world…so nothing we do can shock Him. He knows who we are when He calls us.

    The only thing we contribute to our salvation is our sin.

    God’s grace and salvation are a one way rescue.

    The Gospel can be summed up like this:
    God’s demand: Be righteous
    God’s diagnosis: No one is righteous
    God’s deliverance: Jesus is our Righteousness

    So much of this was made clear by this series In The Beginning…Grace from my former pastor (www.crpc.org). It is so freeing!

    http://www.crpc.org/media#series_34

    Blessings to you,
    Susan

    • I think I understand what you’re trying to say when you say that the Bible is not a book of heroes; what I was trying to get at is the fact that, from a human perspective, there ARE people who are “better” than others at walking with God (i.e. Enoch) and it was shocking to me that God wouldn’t cater to that perspective for the sake of His own reputation. In exploring that though, it has actually revealed far greater things about His reputation. :) I will be blogging about that in the next few days. I’m still “percolating”. :D But I agree with you wholeheartedly that NO ONE is righteous; the Bible makes that pretty clear. Even our “good deeds” are as filthy rags (which is so mind-boggling and humbling!!!).

      The Bible is about God’s movement toward us..not the other way around. We do not ascend to God on the basis of our worthiness (we have none) but He descends to us in the Person of Jesus.

      I earnestly believe that it’s one of the devil’s nastier tricks to cause us to forget this (or be ignorant of it altogether). Lately it seems that I am CONSTANTLY battling the mindset that I must ascend TO rather than receive His movement toward me! Hearing it worded this way was really helpful in jarring me out of that mindset. I have since been telling myself, “He’s already here; you can’t get any closer to Him through your actions.” I’m still battling the tendency to “perform” but your comment on this post has really helped me with that. :)

      He knows who we are when He calls us.

      The only thing we contribute to our salvation is our sin.

      I love this, too.

      I will make an effort to listen to the Grace series because I could really use a healthy dose of it right now (I’m really terrible at sitting down to LISTEN to anything…) . Thank you for sharing the link to that and thank you for your thought-provoking and helpful comments, Susan. You are a joy! :)

      • You are a joy too, Fae! I love your blog and the fact that you are honestly and courageously sharing your gift with all of us!

        The good news about the link I sent you is that you have the option to watch Tullian. I do much better when I can watch something rather than just listening. This series will rock your world!

        Have a blessed day!
        Love,
        Susan

        • Thank you, Susan! My main issue is being interrupted by the kiddos; I tend to immerse myself which means I get irritable when interrupted. And it’s a little too ironic, for my taste, to be snapping at my kids for interrupting me while I learn about Jesus! LOL

          However, I’m long over-due for some Mommy Time Out (the kids rarely nap) so I may just knit and listen at the local coffee shop. :) I really do want to hear this particular series.

          May your day be blessed as well!

  3. Reminds me of a poster in our church, saying how God can use you no matter what. It has a long list, starting with “Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old…” and ending with “…and Lazarus was DEAD.”

    • That’s likely the same story I’ve seen in an email that went around a while back. I loved it! :) It did come to mind while writing this post. I just find it so fascinating who God sovereignly chose to be in Jesus’ geneology.

  4. Pingback: An Awful Lot of Scandal: Part II | being fae

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