What is the church? And what can we liken it to in Judah?
"But Judah drew near to him and said, ... "For
your servant is pledged as surety for the boy by my father, saying, If I
do not bring him to you, then I shall be culpable to my father forever.
So then, please let your servant remain in place of the boy as a slave to my lord, and let the boy go up with his brothers. For how can I go up to my father if the boy is not with me? I do not want to see the misery which will find my father."
This is Judah now. Laying down his life for the son of Jacob the other ten are probably most envious of. The son Jacob spoils now. The favored child. The baby of the family and the son of his old age and favorite wife. But this is not the Judah who about fourteen years before said of the then favored son, "“What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but our hand shall not be against him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” This is a changed man. A man who has been through deep waters with God, who has thought and meditated on his guilt for years. Who has lost children of his own. Who has had his self-righteousness shaken and shattered. Who has seen his father for who he is and loved him as he is, instead of nurturing his self-pity and now would not see the man devastated by the loss of Benjamin.
This is a man whom God has chosen and loved as he is but not left as he was.
"Do not despise the discipline of Yahweh, my child.
Do not be weary of his reproof
because whomever Yahweh will love, he will rebuke,
as a father delights in his son." Proverbs 3
"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8
The church are brothers, chosen by God, forgiven for our sins and saved by our Father's favorite Son and through trials and discipline, made more and more like our most favored brother, Jesus Christ.