I was reading Genesis 38 this morning. It’s tucked right in the middle of the story of Joseph. Honestly, it feels like it’s out of place when you read all the chapters around it. It’s not about Joseph at all. It’s about his brother Judah. The chapter tells us that Judah had three sons. He found a wife for his oldest son, but he died before being able to marry her. He then had his next son marry her as the custom was. He wanted them to produce an heir for his oldest son, but his second son was unwilling to do that. After he died, Judah told her to wait for his third son to grow up and that he would marry her.
Years later, she realized that Judah probably wasn’t going to fulfill his promise. When she heard he was coming to her city, she covered her face and sat at the city gate. Judah mistakenly thought she was a prostitute. He offered her payment and she accepted. She ends up getting pregnant and they threaten to kill her until she reveals who the father is. She named her son Perez which means a break out, a breach or a gap.
If you fast forward to Matthew chapter one, you know the one we always skip because it has a bunch of this person begat that person phrases in it, you’ll find Judah and Perez in the lineage of Jesus. Think about that for a second. A man sleeps with his son’s wife, she gets pregnant and God uses that as part of the family line to have His only begotten through. Judah made a mistake. An uncorrectable mistake. A mistake like that will haunt you forever, but God didn’t hold it against him forever.
In fact, if you look at the entire lineage of Jesus in Matthew one, you’ll see another glaring “mistake” in the line. You’ll notice that David and Solomon are in there. You’ll say that’s not a “mistake” and I agree. It’s the parenthetical statement in verse 6 that stands out. It says that the mother of Solomon was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah. If you don’t know, David was out on his roof one night and saw a woman bathing. He liked what he saw, called for her, found out she was married, slept with her anyway and she became pregnant.
He decided to quietly conceal the matter by having her husband murdered. After he was murdered, David married her. The baby died shortly after birth. She got pregnant again and gave birth to Solomon. Crazy huh? What’s more crazy is that God used a murderer and the son birthed from an affair in the line of Christ. The line to Jesus wasn’t filled with perfect people. It was filled with humans who made huge mistakes that they couldn’t recover from.
We all make mistakes in our lives. We all have things we’ve done that we wish we had never done. Some of those mistakes we’ll have to live with for the rest of our lives. The amazing thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He doesn’t hold those mistakes over our head. In fact, He can use them to bring about great things in our lives and in our future. Even when you think it’s a mistake that is so bad, you’ll never recover from it, He can turn it around.
Think for a minute today about the mistakes you’ve made. If its big enough, I’m sure it haunts you day and night. Have you asked God to forgive it? Have you asked Him to heal or repair that breach or gap (Perez) in your life? If you’ve asked Him, He’s forgiven you and you should forgive yourself too. God wants to fill in that gap and use it for good in your life and future, but you have to allow Him to, by forgiving yourself and moving forward. You can’t change it, but He can change the outcome of it.