Genesis to Now: Walking Away
People respond to guilt in many ways. One way is to walk away. The events that take place in Genesis 38 cover many years—enough years for Judah to leave, marry, have two sons, and those sons grow up and marry. The text does not tell us directly why Judah left his brothers, but chapter 38 does begin with “at that time.” It appears to come close on the heels of Judah having suggested to sell Joseph to the Midianites. It is true that Judah had saved Joseph’s life, but to what end? His father believed him to be dead just the same and would not be comforted. The secret had to be kept among the brothers; surely discord and guilt had followed. Perhaps the others blamed him; perhaps he blamed himself. All we know is that Judah left—and the leaving was not good.
Perhaps a thing to learn from the beginning of this account is that no one can really walk away from God. Judah’s two eldest sons were “wicked in the Lord’s sight.” And, for that, God put them to death. The Canaanite people did not worship God. The influence all around Judah’s family would have been pagan, but God still took notice of him—the same as He takes notice of all individuals everywhere, even today. And, He deals with our actions.
God sees all things. God considers individuals. God is involved in people’s lives whether they want Him to be or not. Judah ran away. Judah stayed away for many years. But, Judah could not escape the eyes of the Lord. Judah, as his ancestors before him, ran from the truth—ran from repentance. Yet, no person can run beyond the hand of God. It simply is not possible.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything