When we foul up or fail as Christians, the temptation is to go into a “funk,” think that God has rejected us, that He won’t hear our prayers, and will exclude us from all of His blessings! That way of thinking often boils down to a view that we somehow “earn” His blessing – that they are somehow the payoff for perfection (or at least a pretty high passing score).
What a mistake! None of us merit the blessing of God! All of us “fall short” of His glorious ideal (Romans 3:23)! Without his mercy and grace we are all washed up! The good news is that God in His goodness, “graces” and blesses imperfect people! (He better, or I’m in deep trouble! How about you?)
This morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read a wonderful story in the Bible that reinforced this truth!
Jacob (his name actually implies “he cheats”), had taken advantage of his “older” brother, Esau, in a weak moment and had bargained for the special benefits reserved for a firstborn son (it’s called the “birthright”). Then when Isaac, his father, was very old and blind, he plotted with his mother to take advantage of his father’s condition, and by deception steal the firstborn blessing that Jacob intended to give to Esau, his brother. (In the process he not only deceived his father, he also told a terrible lie… When his father asked “How is it that you have found game so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because THE LORD, your God, granted me success.) His deception and cheating, on that occasion, angered his brother Esau so much that he determined to kill Jacob after his father Isaac died. As a result, Jacob had to flee for his life!
Lonely and guilty that night in the wilderness, fearful of his brother’s rage, aware of his father’s disapproval of his actions, and struggling with a sense of deep guilt before God, Jacob found a place to bed down for the night. He found a rock for a pillow and fell into a fitful sleep… Unworthy! Unworthy!!
But God showed up during the night! … Jacob dreamed of a ladder on earth reaching up into the heavenlies! Angels ascended and descended on it! And the Lord stood above it and spoke directly to Jacob (the “cheater”)… And this is what He said: “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring! Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go! I will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you!” (From Genesis 28:13–15 ESV)
Was Jacob (the “cheater”) worthy of that blessing? No, he certainly was not! But worthy or not, God blessed him, made promises about His future, and had a purpose for His life! God’s grace and mercy led Jacob to sanctify that moment and that place! He vowed and said, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go…then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone (that he had slept on) which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that You (the Lord) give me I will give a full tenth (a tithe) to You!” (verses 20-22)
Oh, here is my prayer! … May the undeserved blessing and grace of the Lord that I have received lead me to gratefully commit my life – my ALL – to my Heavenly Father every day! I’m just a sinner, saved by God’s grace!