Last night at Meadow I shared the chapter in the life of Jacob where the reader witnesses Jacob’s entire family morally imploded in one chapter. Because we tend to read the Scriptures in ways that enable us to forget that these are real people, living during real eras, feeling real pain and leaving real legacies, I wanted to ensure that last night’s gatherers were given the opportunity to feel the weight of Genesis chapter 27. The whole scene plays out in a cringe-worthy fashion and we want to scream, ‘Stop!’ with every ensuing paragraph. Isaac (the father) determines to ignore God’s decree and give Esau (the firstborn son) a blessing he did not even desire. Rebekah (the mother) devises a scheme for Jacob (the younger son) to pose as Esau and pull a fast-one on the elderly and blind Isaac. Pretty much everyone in the family is up to something fleshly and carnal and there is not even a scintilla of evidence that God was welcomed to speak to the situation. These people were supposed to represent the followers of God. They didn’t pray because they were too preoccupied with getting their agendas worked out. In the end, Jacob deceived Isaac, Rebekah coerced her son into sinful deception and Esau vowed to murder his traitorous little brother. So much for those quaint little bible stories.
What is amazing is that, though the details differ from our own stories, the plotline is the same. We sin. We fail. We lie. We fall short of God’s standard. We justify our wrongdoing. We blame others. And we reap what we sow. Yep, we humans are fairly predictable. But there’s another thing that remains consistent: God’s overcoming grace.
“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:11-13
That last phrase catches us off guard. We would assume, based on the other two verses that the verse would read, “If we are faithless…God will break off from us and leave us on our own.” Instead we are told that God will remain true to Himself and keep His covenant with us, even when we seem to do so much to trash our obligations within that covenant. We are told that God’s consistency is not dependent upon our consistency nor is His ultimate plan thwarted by our inconsistencies. Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob all failed God and each of them sinned deeply in Genesis 27. Though His voice is never heard in that chapter, God had already spoken in covenant melody and had decreed that His work would be accomplished through Abraham, then Isaac and then…Jacob. Jacob, the sneak. Jacob, the con-man. Jacob, the liar. God would be working overtime on Jacob but, in the meantime, He would certainly not be annulling what He had promised.
This is your story and mine, Christian friend. You have not kept your promises to God since that day when He saved you. Admittedly, you intended to do things God’s way but you haven’t. I haven’t either. Truth be known, there have been moments when you delighted in the very sins you formerly renounced. You have covered up a few sins in your years as a Christian. Even when you were not proactively transgressing there have been seasons when God’s glory was not even on your radar when it came to your priorities. Yet He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself. Our all-wise God knew that He could not entrust the final outcome to fickle followers like you and me. It is very humbling, is it not? He knew He could not rely on our commitments, our obedience or our confessions. He knew He would need to take care of it Himself so He came to live as one of us. Jesus was called the Son of Man as well as the Son of God. It was Jesus who heard from the Father that He was God’s beloved Son who brought the Father pleasure. Of Jesus it was said that He always did those things which pleased the Father. Written of Jesus were the words “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” None of these things have ever been said of any of us. So when Jesus Christ the Lord stretched out His arms on a cross it was acceptable to the Father that His life and death would serve as a once-for-all sacrifice. The innocent Lamb was slain so that the guilty goats might be spared. This is what we call grace. Jacob and his fumbling family certainly needed that sacrifice. So does the Lyle family. So do you and the people who share your DNA. Let’s be grateful that we can acknowledge our own failures without being swept away by the tidal wave of despair. Our Kinsman has passed the test with a perfect score and to Him it has been entrusted to guide us safely through the end. We are safe in Him. We are holy in Him. We are accepted in Him. All of us failed the test but we have been made to come under the banner of Christ’s perfect score. So while seeking to live our best for Jesus Christ, let us never lose grip on the humbling truth that we need His sacrifice as strongly today as when we first believed.
As a matter of fact…most of us sense that we need it more now than we did when He first found us. This enlightenment is also His grace and it shows that He remains faithful to you. He keeps coming to you when you stumble or run and you are growing in your dependence on Him… and this is a very good thing.
Give to the ministry