Judah, the forefather of Jesus himself, left his family and went down to live with the Canaanites for a while. While he was there, he got married to Shuah and had three sons.
We don’t know a lot about the first one whose name was Er, but here is what we do know.
Gen 38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
Gen 38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
Really, this seems pretty drastic. After all, there have been plenty of wicked people in the history of the world, and God didn’t necessarily come down and kill them right away.
What could possibly have been so wicked that Er automatically deserved death?
I can’t necessarily answer that because it isn’t in the Bible, and I don’t want to speculate. However, here is what I can say about this.
Sin inevitably leads to death. We all deserve death because we all have sinned. God takes sin seriously, and that is outlined pretty clearly throughout the entire Bible.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We can’t pay off our sin by our own merit. The only reason we are able to be forgiven is because of what Jesus did on the cross. He took on all of the sins of the world and died so that we are able to have eternal life. As that verse indicates, salvation is a free gift that can be accepted by anyone.
While we may not necessarily think of ourselves as “wicked” like Er apparently was, we are still just as separated from God as a result of any sin we have committed.
Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Like verse one says, God does not change because we have sinned. However, our sin nature does cause a separation. This is somewhat similar to Adam and Eve when they were in the Garden of Eden.
Before their sin, they were able to personally walk with God. After the fall, there had to be some degree of separation. God was still there, but they could not keep the exact same relationship.
However, because of what Jesus did, we have a bridge back to reenter a relationship with God.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Er unfortunately did wicked things, and he was punished for them. Sin never leads to anything good, so it is definitely better to try to take sin out of our lives and keep our relationship with God strong.