Friday, May 1, 2015

Lessons from the Soap Opera of Genesis

In our family devotions tonight, we were reading the colorful story of Jacob and his little love triangle... not the nicest story out there. Man meets woman, falls in love. Decides to marry woman and works 7 years for her. So far, so good. Wedding day arrives and said woman's father pulls a stunt. Here you go, sister of the bride, stand in for your sister. It'll all work out, don't worry. Groom discovers trick after wedding, decides that he still wants the original woman. So off he goes to work, because in 7 years she will be his too. Once he has her, things sort of fall apart. First bride, Leah, sees that second bride, Rachel, is loved more than she is. I think it's very interesting what God did - he opened her womb but not Rachel's. If Jacob were smart, he would've seen something in that. Anyway... Leah has 4 boys and Rachel as of yet has none. Rachel gets creative, decides that if her maid has a child by Jacob, it's every bit as much hers, right? So 2 more children get added to the mix. Leah pulls the same stunt and along come 2 more. Then comes the whole mandrakes episode. Next come 2 more boys and a girl, all Leah's. Of course, Rachel eventually does have 2 children of her own, one of whom would be a shining example of everything his parents were (mostly) not. Deceitful dad (Laban), slick sisters, and Jacob (not exactly the most scrupulous individual himself) make for a great combination. This story is an absolute mess. We read it and go, Wow. Really? What do you think you're doing? What do you expect from all your treachery and jealousy? And how sad is it that these two sisters end up practically mortal enemies?

Fast forward a couple thousand years. From one of the children that came from this mess comes Jesus, "for He shall save His people from their sins". Very, very worth noting that God chose this VERY dysfunctional family to be in the ancestry of His Son. They weren't the only ones - Rahab the prostitute. Ruth, from Moab - serious enemies of Israel. David, Solomon, Uzziah, the list continues. Note He didn't choose "perfect" people or people that had it all together - great family life, wonderful background, epitome of great character. The only perfect one in this whole saga - 6,000 years of it - is Christ.

It's a good lesson for us - they were all 100% sinners, same as the rest of us. And yet God loved them and decided that he would give them the honor of being fathers and mothers of Jesus, the perfect Savior. Because He loved them too and bore their sin, died, and rose for them. Very ordinary people, with slightly dramatic stories.

Now look at yourself today. We are not ancestors of Jesus as the ones mentioned above, but brothers and sisters of His after He came. But we are the same as Jacob, Rachel, Leah, and the rest of them. Once again, God has chosen us - liars, thieves, cheaters - to carry out His plan. To fulfill His commission. To be loved by the Almighty Father and His Son, the King. Pretty amazing, isn't it?

So let that color your view of yourself, your life, and what you are doing here. He has chosen you to live in this time, you to know His love and grace, you to show Him to the rest of the world. You can't do anything about it. You can't be perfect enough, good enough, flawless enough. He did it all, and we are the grateful recipients. You and I, messed up, sinners, unfaithful, catty, jealous - are also part of His plan, just as Jacob and his problem family were part of His plan. So look at Genesis 29 and onwards with this word constantly in your mind:


Then, go out and live your life and be grateful that you are loved, free, and forgiven. Think of Jacob... Rahab... David... the imperfect people that were used by a perfect God in His flawless plan. And remember that no matter what happens, or how you disobey, He loves you with an unmeasurable love... and He has made you just the right size puzzle piece for His plan. Wow.

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20-21