Every time I read the story of Jacob, I realize how much the way we live is bred into our children. Each time, I am so grateful for redemption and grace, for none of us are any better than these men. We are all people of deceit because we have the same sin nature as they.
Abraham told his wife to lie about being his wife. Twice. Both times, God spared Sarah and reprimanded Abraham. Sure, his wife was beautiful, but he didn’t want others to be jealous of him because of her. He certainly didn’t want to die because of her.
His son Isaac did the same thing. He told Rebekah to lie about their relationship. It wasn’t until Abimelech looked out the palace window and saw Isaac “sporting” with Rebekah that he realized the truth: they were husband and wife. God spared Isaac as well.
Isaac’s son Jacob became known as the deceiver – because he was one. He deceived his father and took the blessing intended for his older twin brother. Because of that deceit, Jacob had to flee for his life and did not return for over twenty years. During that time, his mother died and his father became an old man. Jacob also deceived his father-in-law (who had, admittedly, deceived him first). It seemed to be a part of his life.
The deceit continues
Jacob’s sons deceived him when they sold their brother Joseph to Ishmaelites heading to Egypt. Did they lie? Well, did they?
They did not tell their father their brother was dead, but they took his coat of many colors and dipped it in blood/ The brothers showed it to their father, who naturally assumed Joseph was dead. They didn’t bother to tell him the truth, did they? So yes, they lied.
Later when the their sister Dinah is raped, the brothers agree to let her marry the man guilty of rape providing that he and all his kinsmen were circumcised. On the third day following the circumcision – when the men were too sore to fight, as the brothers knew they would be – the brothers went through the camp, killing the men and taking the women and children as prisoners.
Judah, Jacob’s third son, played the part of deceit also. He had sex with his daughter-in-law who posed as a prostitute. When he found out she (a widow) was pregnant, he was going to have her put to death for her sin, yet it didn’t matter to him that he was guilty of adultery himself. Talk about deceit!
Bringing Redemption followed by grace
Generation after generation, the lies continue. It seems that lying is what they do to stay out of a tight spot and to spare their lives. It is what they do to get what they want.
Finally, the brothers are forced to tell the truth to their brother Joseph as they bow to him, the second highest in command in Egypt. Next, they have to go back home and tell their father that the son he thought was dead is alive.
God used the genetics of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his son (born to his daughter-in-law Tamar) to bring the Messiah to us. That’s Redemption. And that’s Grace.
God certainly didn’t use these men because of who they were. He brought redemption because of Who He is.
Over and over, He picks up our tattered pieces and puts us back together. He brings redemption and restoration to our brokenness – not because of who we are, or because of what we have done – but because of Who He is.
Today, our world is fraught with lies and deceit from the most insignificant to the one with the most power. If only we could trust those in authority – those who are supposed to have our best interest at heart -, but we can’t.
This I know. We can keep trusting the One who formed this universe, the one Who chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – and brought us a Redeemer. Because of our Redeemer, we can keep trusting the One who knows it all.
That is what is so amazing about Grace. That’s why Redemption sets us free – because of Who He is.
Photo attribution (first two photos): https://www.freebibleimages.org/
Photo attribution (third photo): www.pixabay.com