Genesis 32:9-12 MSG
And then Jacob prayed, “God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, God who told me, ‘Go back to your parents’ homeland and I’ll treat you well.’ I don’t deserve all the love and loyalty you’ve shown me. When I left here and crossed the Jordan I only had the clothes on my back, and now look at me—two camps! Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I’m afraid he’ll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children. You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count.’”
Liar, supplanter, deceiver. How would you feel if you were called these names? The younger son of Isaac and Rebekah grew up with the name Jacob which meant ‘holder of the heel’. Ever since he was born he was already being branded as someone who would do anything to get ahead. That he did by lying to his father and brother into stealing the birthright and blessing of Esau. However, his mother asked him to flee to save his life. He went to another land and became a slave for his uncle. He married twice and had twelve sons from four women. God blessed him despite what he did and he acknowledged that in the prayer above.
I’m not saying that it’s okay to do bad things. What I want to highlight is the grace of God. Even Jacob knew he didn’t deserve what he had. Surely, he didn’t deserve to be shown mercy by Esau. But he held on to the promises of God in his life and received a new identity when he wrestled with Him.
Have you any idea of how much of what we have right now is undeserved? Everything. We deserved to be wiped out. God’s justice should have been meted out to us long ago. But thank Jesus for the concept of grace. Like Jacob, we can ask Him for great things not because of who we are or what we have accomplished. All of our righteousness is but filthy rags in His sight. It is only because He said it and He is faithful to complete it in us no matter who we are or what we have done.