PATRIARCH OF HOPE (2)

ISRAEL STRUGGLES WITH GOD

Pay close attention to this morning’s message. There is an uplifting moment for you. Read with an open heart and ask God to reveal the hidden truth.

For this chosen people Jacob is both a historical individual and a symbol of their own relationship to God. In Jacob-Israel they recognise their own wayward nature, through him, they realise that their own election is neither ethically nor morally merited. The election, the call, God’s favour is not theirs because of any intrinsic nobility and goodness of their own, but rather, as it would appear, despite the deviousness of their ways, in the grace and purpose of God. They have no claims on God; they cannot “force His hand” with human efforts. The people of God realise that the righteous man is not he who conforms his conduct to what is right but he whom God recognizes as righteous. It is for him whom God loves to learn to love. Jacob was not chosen because he was righteous. He is righteous because he is chosen. Jacob eventually receives his comeuppance for his sins and becomes a wise and mellow old man.

Jacob expresses the tension between human perversity and divine love. In Jacob, the people of God read the shame of their own sinfulness, and the hope offered by God’s eternal goodness and saving love. Jacob grew in faith at Bethel, “Surely God is in this place; and I did not know it”. The history of the people of God, too, is one in which they understand themselves to be supported only by the grace of God, a story of sustained hope and confidence in a beneficent, life-giving Providence, communicating His goodness to all.

My peace I leave with you this morning and may Almighty God grant you His favour.

Sir Godfrey Gregg

Divisional Patriarch

Author: Godfrey Gregg