I read Genesis 30-37 today (catching up on my weekend reading on my one year plan). It’s the story of Jacob. There is so much lying and deceiving in it, and yet God blesses Jacob like crazy. I read it, and I’m so baffled at it. Why in the world does God bless this guy, who just lies and deceives people, and raises a group of boys who does the same? I thought God blessed the faithful and cursed the disobedient.
Well, yes and no. One, I realized that I only have snapshots of Jacob’s life in the story. Genesis isn’t about Jacob, or Abraham, or Moses. It’s about God. So the only parts of Jacob’s life that show up in Genesis are the parts God wants to share to show the advancement of His story. In Jacob’s case, the stories that get told are really embarrassing. But it only shows a couple of months of history from a life that spans over a hundred years. This isn’t necessarily who Jacob is, it’s who we see as God tells the key points in His story.
Secondly, God doesn’t reward the faithful and curse the disobedient. Not the way we think. CLEARLY, when we obey God, our lives run much better, and our relationship with Him is stronger. Don’t be confused on that for a minute. But for God to bless any of us, He has to lead with Grace, not Justice. We are all disobedient. I am just as sinful as Jacob. I lie, deceive, live arrogantly, twist things for my own advancement all the time. If God boiled my whole life down to a couple of stories over a couple of months, it could easily look worse than Jacobs. Yet God blesses me. Why? Not as much because I am good, as the fact that He is good.
That is where I fit in the Jacob story. He and I are brothers, under God’s Grace. Twins, it would seem at times. And God blessed Him. And, by the way, God gives him a new name. He takes away the Jacob name (“heel grabber”), which alludes to Jacob being a thief and deceiver by meaning, and names him Israel (“God’s chosen”), the one blessed by God. He goes from being known for his own mistakes, to being known as one of Gods. God has changed my name too. I have gone from being one known by my own strengths and weaknesses to one claimed by God, a follower of Jesus, a little Christ. I am a Christian. I am His.
I like my new name much better.