If you have time read Genesis 37 and 38 as well as 44 (particularly verses 18-33)
I am sure many of you have heard the story of Joseph and his twelve brothers.
A recap in roughly 49 words – Joseph is dad’s favorite, brothers are jealous: seek to kill him but sell him instead. He ends up in Egypt. Joseph endures slavery/prison and eventually becomes second in command of Egypt where they have plenty of food. Joseph’s brothers need food because of famine, they are eventually reconciled.
This is one of the most well known stories in scripture but the part I want to focus on is Judah within the story. Here is one of the only brothers mentioned by name within this section multiple times. Right in the middle of this Joseph story we have a small story about Judah and Tamar where Judah is tricked because he does wrong by Tamar. Thus, he begins to change throughout this short interlude in the Joseph story. Ultimately, when the brothers are in Egypt and the time comes for Benjamin to stay in captivity because he is caught “stealing,” Judah offers himself in Benjamin’s place. This is the same Judah who earlier suggested the brothers sell Joseph instead of simply killing him because then they could make a profit and be rid of him! What has changed?? Judah goes from being selfish and materially focused to selfless and willing to give up everything, albeit through some rough times. This change happens over many years but I believe one of the reasons that the Judah and Tamar story is inserted here is because that is a big point in his life where he began to change, simply because he was tricked even though it was his own fault.
Sometimes we have these clear moments. Sometimes they are more subtle.
However, transformation from being selfish to selfless (or rather, being self-centered to God centered) is not an easy thing and often takes time. Do not give up on the pursuit. Daily ask for the Holy Spirit to transform you and inhabit your life. Practice putting others desires ahead of yourself, even when it is not easy.
Where is your heart right now? Focused on you or God and others?
How do you identify with Joseph? Judah?
What is a specific way you can be selfless and God centered today?