Monday, January 28, 2008

It Is Required Each and Every Day

Good morning my friends,

Grace is when we receive something we do not deserve. An example would be when a student fails to hand in an assignment on time. That student should receive the full consequences of their failure to do what was expected of them. That is what is fair and just. Grace is when the teacher gives the student an extra day to hand in the assignment. The student should fail but the teacher has shown grace to the student. It is amazing how every day of our life depends on the grace of our God.

What is truly amazing is how much grace is required for God to remain faithful to his promises. Consider this morning’s reading, Genesis 27, 28. God had promised Abraham that he would make him into a great nation and give him an already occupied area of the word. God chose Abraham by grace because the only remarkable thing about Abraham was that he trusted God. He was not a man of great character, fame or even wealth. Yet, it was because he believed God that God declared Abraham righteous. Abraham was a liar and he lied to preserve his life, even at the risk of the loss of his wife.

Abraham passed this same character on to Isaac, yet God’s promise also passed to Isaac because Isaac also trusted God. But Isaac’s family had to have been one of the worst examples in the Word of God. Isaac was a terrible example of a father and was a deceiver himself. Rebekah was a manipulator and worked with her son Jacob to deceive her husband. Jacob took after his mom and was a terrible manipulator, liar, and cheat. Eseau had so many issues it is hard to know where to start. Perhaps this is the first example of a fully dysfunctional family, overlooking the very first family. Yet, God’s promise still stood.

It is a great act of grace that saw God reach out to Jacob as Jacob ran away to preserve his life from his brothers revenge:

"I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Genesis 28:13-15)

Amazingly God’s promise is passed on to Jacob. Do you notice that God makes no demands on Jacob? Jacob does not deserve this promise. He certainly has not earned it, yet he has received it. It provoked this response in him:

"If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth." (Genesis 28:20-22)

It is funny how God made no conditions for his promise yet Jacob made his response conditional upon God blessing him. Jacob will go on to deceive and to be deceived. He will raise a brood of boys who themselves will become deceivers, liars, murderers and will even turn on their dad in the incident of Joseph. Yet, God’s blessing and promise will rest on all of them because he made a decision and a promise to Abraham. It required a great deal of grace.

We often think of God’s grace in our life being something that concerns only our salvation, yet we are not much better than this dysfunctional family. Do we really deserve to be called righteous? Consider your actions in a normal day. How often do you lie in a day? How often do you embellish stories to make yourself look good? How often do you become angry? How strong is your self-righteousness? I doubt it is very strong. Yet, we still possess the promise of salvation because of the grace that is shown to us daily by our incredible God. No one can say how much we will be accountable when we do not even realize what we were doing. So often we do the wrong thing without it even registering with us. The one thing we do know is that when the Spirit brings conviction due to our actions we are being called to repentance, and we dare not ignore the voice of God.

Today, let’s not take God’s grace for granted. Let us praise him all the more loudly because of it.

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