The Subtle Road to Indifference

Someday, if I ever find the time, I am going to indulge my writer’s craving and dive into stories about the men of Scripture. They aren’t a popular sell, truth be told, but they fascinate me just the same. Of course, many people think they know enough about the patriarchal nature of the Bible and the stories of its many men, but I think that, like the women, there is a lot beneath the surface that we might find if we just search for it.One of my favorites of these men is Judah, fourth-born son of Leah and Jacob. His journey is not one most parents would choose for their sons. He sold his half-brother into slavery, ran off to marry a foreigner, buried two rebellious sons, and slept with his daughter-in-law whom he thought to be a prostitute. Read Genesis 37-38 for more details. But in the end, he offered his own life to save a different half-brother and was blessed by his father to carry the royal line of Israel.

Backtracking a bit, though—I wonder how many years Judah allowed jealousy and anger toward Joseph, the brother he sold into slavery, to fester before that fateful day? What caused him to grow so hardened against his brother’s pleas to set him free?

Indifference can lead us to make some pretty unwise choices, and those choices can lead us down paths of guilt that can mushroom into the desire to hide, to run from those who love us most. That’s what Judah did. He ran off from his father’s clan to live among pagans.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. But if nothing else, I think his life is a lesson in consequences. When we do something we regret, don’t run away. Don’t let regret lead to bitterness or guilt, both emotions that can cause our hearts to grow cold.

Relationships are ruined, as Judah learned the hard way, and worse, our love for God wanes, as I suspect his did too.

Perhaps that’s why Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Judah let the devil have a major foothold. But if we study Scripture, we see that God had a plan to pull Judah out of that snare and turn him into a respectable, God-honoring person. Eventually, even his father blessed him to be the head of a royal line – the tribe of Judah. King David and Yeshua Messiah trace their genealogies through his royal line.

I wonder if Judah would have had any claim to his father’s blessing of royalty if he had not had a change of heart, and a willingness to let go of past hurts, past sins, past bitterness. Did he wrestle with God as his father had done? As I’ve done far too often when I want my will instead of His?

Somewhere along the way Judah had to make a choice between obedience and indifference. Between pride and surrender.

I think history shows us well which choice he made.