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Removing Religious Masks

Words of Faith Final

Removing Religious Masks
Words of Faith 7-7-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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NOTE for those doing family devotionals. Chapter 38 is a PG-13 chapter for sure. Racy material ahead! JDH
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Genesis 38
[24] About three months later Judah was told, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant."
Judah said, "Bring her out and have her burned to death!"
[25] As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. "I am pregnant by the man who owns these," she said. And she added, "See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are."
[26] Judah recognized them and said, "She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah." And he did not sleep with her again.
[27] When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. [28] As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, "This one came out first." [29] But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, "So this is how you have broken out!" And he was named Perez. [30] Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out and he was given the name Zerah.

What have we learned about Judah? Well, he was self-absorbed. Even when he spoke up to save Joseph, he reasoned from self-interest (37:26). He was not loyal. He lacked moral integrity slinking off to visit what he thought was a pagan shrine prostitute.
But now, Judah was also seen to be a hypocrite. He was prepared to burn his daughter-in-law to death for the sin he had committed himself! The word hypocrite would seem appropriate here.
The word hypocrite is an interesting one. Jesus used it no less than thirteen times to describe self-righteous religious people. The word actually means "stage-actor" or "mask-wearer." Jesus strongly rebuked those who wear a religious mask of self-righteousness while condemning others for the very sins they have committed.
It was a revealing moment for Judah. When confronted with the cord and seal he had lost months earlier, he was publicly reminded of his own moral failing. He had to admit that Tamar was "more righteous than I." In the big picture, Judah had done nothing to further the offspring of his own household. It took the "righteousness" of Tamar to preserve the seed of Judah. It also took the shrewdness of Tamar to confront Judah with his hypocrisy.
It is interesting what we have learned about Judah, but what have we learned about ourselves? It would be easy to shake a finger at Judah and comment on what a big hypocrite he was. Tsk-tsk. That Judah was bad!
The truth is that we humans are rather prone to hypocrisy. We like to act more righteous than we really are. We may not traverse into the same places of sin that Judah found, but we too have our private sins, and we are often quick to condemn others.
Jesus said that all secrets will be revealed. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs (Luke 12:1-3).
Jesus also said, "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye (Matthew 7:4-5).
Judah had a revealing moment. It was an opportunity for him to see himself for what he really was. It was an opportunity to repent, surrender to God, do the right thing, and change. It doesn't take a family crisis to discover that we need to get right with God. We can simply ask God to search us, listen carefully, and turn toward Him.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.