Not knowing anything about the Bible, someone might assume that it’s full of great triumphs and noble victories by people of God. After a cursory glance we can see this is often not true and the story contains a cast of characters lifted straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie – murderers, adulterers, liars, and con men.
The batting average of key biblical figures is generally low enough to place them on the bench, but many times they are held up as an example of God doing great things and advancing the plan of salvation.
Let’s take a look at Jacob.
Why does God love Jacob? Who knows. The Bible never answers that question. All we get is the story of a con man.
Consider his lowlights:
-His name means ‘the deceiver’
-He takes his brother’s birthright
-He steals his brother’s blessing from their father
-Complains when his uncle treats him the same way he treated others
-Hated and neglected one of his wives
-Favored his son Joseph above his brothers so that they were jealous to the point of murder
-Exhibits general cowardly behavior. When he meets his brother as an adult he uses his children and hated wife as a buffer between him and his brother in case the reunion turns violent.
What can we take from this? We don’t get any redeeming qualities about Jacob other than, say, his wrestling skills and willingness to endure seven years of labor for a woman’s hand in marriage.
The good news is if God has chosen someone like Jacob for the plan of salvation (he’s mentioned in Jesus’ lineage), God can use anybody. No matter what we may have done in the past God can always turn weakness into strength.