I like to write. But in order to do that, I need to feel what I write is worth being written. To be very candid, that isn’t always easy. All kinds of things get in the way. Sometimes I’m lazy. Sometimes I struggle with a subject and try to find a way to express ideas in a way which deserves attention. Better still, ideas that demand attention.
Sometimes the subject matter isn’t pleasant. Sometimes it’s difficult, even painful and personal. The subject isn’t appealing at all. And in my thinking and searching the Biblical records of “God’s Comeback Kids,” I’ve run into roadblocks. This entire study has convinced me that the Bible isn’t ever a study of man’s quest for God. Not ever! Some of the characters in Scripture were really obnoxious. All were flawed. Not one among them was spotless.
To put it bluntly, many of us have made such messes of our lives only God could clean them up. Some of us do disgusting things. And there’s no other way to say that.
Take Jacob, for example. That’s the case I’ve been investigating. What a con artist! Lying, cheating, stealing. . . even from his own kin. Before Bernie Madoff, the Enron scoundrels, he perfected the art of the con. For this study, I’ve considered the title “Jake the Snake” and a sneaky one at that. However, out of respect for the person he became, I’ve resisted that impulse.
Another problem with which I’ve been dealing is this: I have a friend who seems to be an exact clone of Jacob. Very gifted and charming, decent looking, he’s left a trail of deceit, ducking and dodging any responsibility for his dishonorable conduct. He’s betrayed everyone who’s ever trusted or cared for him and left someone else to clean up his messes while he gaily goes in search of another victim of opportunity.
I’ve agonized over him. No effort penetrates his narcissism. He is out as I now write, in search of another pot of gold at the end of another rainbow of his making. I see no good end in sight. He reminds me so much of Jacob. And Jacob reminds me so much of him.
As touchy as this subject is, I feel it needs to be addressed. I must not give up until God does. And there are people who someday may read this who are living the same way Jacob did. People who will be honest with themselves and God enough to set things right.
Hopefully, somewhere in the process of ducking and dodging, bobbing and weaving, running away, they may encounter God who is able to change Jacob into Israel. The God who changed the self-righteous, murderous Saul into the great Christian evangelist and apostle, Paul. The God who can turn your life 180 degrees and make you a new person.
That’s the kind of thing God can do. The kind of thing that ONLY GOD can do. And sometimes with the unlikeliest people. Perhaps if my friend will admit to God who he really is and what he’s really like, my friend may yet be transformed into the person God wishes him to be.
In carefully considering the lives of the Biblical characters, their humanity is always apparent. There are dysfunctional families. Some of the characters were absolute jerks, and that is a true statement. Truth is never varnished over. Consequences always follow their misdeeds. Guilty consciences haunt them. Like sheep (and us) they go astray.
However, forgiveness is also always a possibility. Perfection is a high standard. It is, actually unattainable, and that is why forgiveness is so necessary. God sees possibilities, not just flaws. He places more importance upon what you and I can become than He does on what we’ve been.

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey

One response to “Jacob/Israel

  1. This was a tough one for me to do.

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