By Brandi Harris
When you make bad choices, bad things happen. Duh. But then what? Try again? Rinse and repeat?
Jacob tricks his brother with a bowl of soup, which would have been awesome because it got him a huge inheritance… except his big muscly brother threatens to go for the jugular. Then he tricks his blind dad with a faux hairy arm. Incredible fortune! Except now he has to move across the country away from everything he knows. Then he swindles his uncle out of a giant flock of sheep. Seriously?!? This guy gets away with everything, till Uncle Laban swaps out his beloved, hard-earned bride for her ugly sister. Karma, man. Then the family falls apart. The wife can’t get pregnant. The sisters hate each other. They all start stealing and lying and breaking each other’s hearts. And here comes that brother again…
You would think these consequences would clue the man in on his route to destruction, but no, he persists–and just tries to clean things up by smearing the poo and then hiding it under the couch. Gross.
What is amazing is not his wretched cleanup, but that the Lord persists in faithfulness to Jacob. How many times can a man prove his bad character and the Lord still desire him? As we follow Jacob, I am watching the Lord show up again and again for him. He blesses. He promises. He resolutely follows and pursues interactions with an unworthy character. I know that Jacob is earning his consequences. What I cannot understand is why God faithfully loves him. Jacob does not deserve the blessings he gets. He deserves abandonment, turnabout, and a swift kick in the pants. To be sure he reaps what he sows, but his punishment is actually much less severe than his crime.
What would happen, if rather than trying to clean up his own messes and thereby making more messes, Jacob would just relent? What would happen if he would turn toward the Lord rather than away? What would happen if he would bow his head and actually say he’s sorry? With how persistent the Lord has been in loving him even in his sin–how much more joy would He respond with if Jacob would just face him?