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Faith That Limps
I remember in Sunday School learning about Jacob tricking his brother out his birthright and then deceiving his father to further claim Esau’s blessing. For some reason I don’t remember ever thinking what Jacob did was wrong. I guess in my innocence I just thought that a patriarch would never do anything sinful.
Today, I read those stories differently. I’ve come to realize that the patriarchs (like everyone else in scripture) are not the main players, but the supporting cast. God is the main character in all the stories of the Bible. The human characters kind of bumble along; some bumbling better than others.
I particularly enjoyed telling the Jacob story today because his faith journey is so different from my perceptions as a young boy. It wasn’t until the intense wrestling match and painful hip dislocation that Jacob knew for certain that without God he wasn’t going to make it. If Isaac was the first child to “grow up in the church” as I mentioned last week, then Jacob is the first 3rd generation believer. Someone has said that the first generation of believers know what they believe and why. The second generation knows what they believe but are a little fuzzy on why they believe. The third generation doesn’t even know what they believe. That seemed to be true of Jacob. God was true to his promises and finally made a believer out of Jacob.
With his new name, Israel, Jacob could now tell us what he believes about God and why he believes it. He also limps every time he walks. He deserves to limp for sure; but he also earned it. He had to struggle long and hard to prove to himself that he could be a man of faith. Now with each hobble he makes he can smile knowing that God will keep all his promises. Israel will never again have to depend on himself. He can rest secure in the promises of God.