Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Clay (Jacob, part I)

Stories have power. 
And the power of the Biblical stories is that they reveal the divine Potter.  How God fashions and molds us, the clay in His hands.  

Enter Jacob.  This man has got to be the most manipulative, self-serving deceiver in the Bible!  To be honest, this dude is a nasty man!  And yet God set His covenant love upon Jacob.  God met Jacob’s primal drive of “ME!” by choosing him, blessing him, loving him, and breaking him.  That’s covenant love, what Francis Chan calls “crazy love.”  I mean, we would be hard-pressed to come up with a better example of God loving someone more than Jacob.  And...invisible blush and a hard swallow on this end...embarrassing as it is, I see a lot of ME in Jacob; I see an insecure man extremely driven out of some wounded place in his heart.  Jacob’s story is my story. 

Scene 1 of Jacob’s story begins even before his birth, as God explains to Rebekah why her twins are having a wrestling match in her womb...

“Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.”  Genesis 25:23

God reveals to Rebekah His choice of Jacob.  Oh, Esau will be blessed too, but God sets His covenant love upon Jacob.  Let’s let the mystery of divine sovereignty--the way God rolls--alone.  We don’t need to fully grasp it nor exhaustively explain it to our unbelieving friends.  If you try, good luck with that:)  Instead of trying to explain it, let it simply wash over you...God chose you.

I mean, seriously, you aren’t going to say you got into this party without an invite, right?  

Scene 1 of Jacob’ story is pregnant Rebekah, but scene 1 of God’s story is simply God, by Himself, in eternity past, deciding to set His covenant love upon...you and me...and Jacob.

“for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls”  Romans 9:11
This story confronts me.  

It confronts me with a God who chose...me.  It confronts me with there being some great purpose behind that choosing.  It confronts me with a God who faithfully accomplishes ALL that He sets out to do...all that He promises to do...despite our circumstances, sins, and slowness to trust.  Why God chose Jacob, and why God chose us, remains a mystery, except for this one stunning revelation...

“so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:7. 

Please read this next line slowly.  It’s as if God were to say, “I just want you to know how much I love you.”  It’s just who God is, the way He rolls.  And this story, perhaps more than any other, highlights the faithfulness of God toward a really broken man.

There is much more to see in this story, but--spoiler alert--despite all his conniving, all his desperate attempts to push others out of the way, all his deception and selfish ambition, Jacob gets blessed by God.  Ultimately, he wrestles with God saying, “I will not let go until you bless me,” to which God essentially responds, “O.k...You got it.  You’ve had it all along.”  For all time, God has set this story before us to confront us with His love.

So the hero of Jacob’s story...and your story...is the eternal God, Yahweh, the LORD, the One who fashions the hearts of them all” (Ps. 33:15), the divine Potter.

And do you see that lump of clay in His hands?  That’s you.

Blog writing ®John Hever. Unless otherwise stated, photos are not the original creative works of John Hever. To access the website of h2o church, go to www.h2ochurch.org.

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