Genesis Part Two: Dive
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
I love the fact that the Bible tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If someone wrote the story of my life, I would want some editing – don’t tell them the time I completely humiliated myself or the time when I lost my temper or lied.
But that's not so in the Bible, Moses (the author of Genesis) describes the life of the Patriarchs with details of incredible acts of faith, heroism and humanity. You are going to be so inspired by the accounts in Genesis, and shocked that they were human beings with everyday fears, like Abram lying about Sarah to Pharaoh in Genesis 12:10, then Isaac doing exactly the same thing in Genesis 26 or Lots’ daughters in Genesis 19:30.
I love the fact that, despite my shock at the perversion of humanity, God continues to solidify His covenant with them. He continues to love on them, to fashion them into His people, to guide them, to look after them and to speak to them. It encourages me that despite my worst day, His love never fails.
Look at Abraham, a man that had so much faith in God that he would sacrifice his son (Genesis 22), who was the same man that lied to the Pharaoh out of fear of being killed (Genesis 12:10). Jacob (the name is a Hebrew idiom for ‘he deceives’), from the beginning, was competing with Esau – he manipulates him out of his birthright (Genesis 25:27), he manipulates the flock so that they increase over Laban’s (Genesis 30:25), and then wrestles with God in Genesis 32, where God changes his name from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel (he struggles with God). God doesn’t leave him as he is, God wrestles with him until he goes away limping, a patriarch of our faith. When you wrestle with God, you are changed from the inside out. When you have an encounter with God in prayer or reading the Word, you are naturally impacted, you will limp for the rest of your life remembering the time that God changed you!
Check out Joseph, an incredibly over-excited, unthinking seventeen-year-old that bragged about his dreams to his brothers and ended up being put in prison for crimes he didn’t commit. God vindicates him and he is put in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
These amazing people, the good, the bad and the ugly are all in the lineage of Jesus. They are the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the foundation of our faith, our Patriarchs. When you look up Patriarch in the dictionary, it brings up a description of Biblical patriarchs, fathers of the faith: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! They are the three that God associates Himself with in Exodus 3:6, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’. Do you know what blows me away about this statement? Remember, as we read the Bible don’t miss the little treasures. God doesn’t say ‘I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel’ – He says ‘I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ – Jacob the deceiver. God doesn’t just associate Himself with us in our transformed state, He associates Himself with us in our worst state. Think a little further on this; this man who was a deceiver and was transformed by God, is Israel, the man that the nation of Israel is named after. God doesn’t want perfect people, just people willing to follow Him, to walk with Him and encounter Him.
The other thing I love about Genesis is that God’s covenant agreement with them continues despite their mistakes and humanity. Jesus’ covenant agreement with us in salvation continues despite our humanity, and we are going to wrestle with that thought further when we go through Covenant agreements in our Exodus Dive.
As I read Genesis, I am shocked, inspired and challenged by the people that I encounter. Sometimes in our lives, we can assume that God only wants or uses perfect people, but the Bible screams the opposite. God wants consecrated people, that will follow Him in our humanity, keep going when we make mistakes, wrestle with Him to be transformed and that He can use for His glory. My favourite scripture, the one I quote the most in my life is 2 Corinthians 12:9, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’. Weakness is not failure; weakness is a life surrendered.
As you read Genesis, know that God’s divine hand and plan are in place – despite their humanity, despite the people’s errors, He is in control and He takes care of them and uses them for His glory. Be encouraged God will use all of your mess, mistakes and humanity for His glory – the good, the bad and the ugly!
Trashing Tip: Highlight the very human moments of our patriarchs; when they lie, sin or disobey God, and stay tuned for how God uses them.