Genesis 31:1-55

Jacob isn’t blessed by God for being perfect. He lied. He manipulated. He disrespected his father. He put his faith in tree branches, instead God.

Still, he is blessed and protected. Not because he is perfect. But because he is justified by God and set-apart for a great purpose.

While prior to this chapter we’ve seen Jacob’s dark side, Genesis Thirty One spotlights the good. He continues to work for Laban, even when he appears to be cheated of wages. He works wholeheartedly; with all his strength, in extreme temperatures, through sleepless nights. He accepts personal and financial responsibility for lost or stolen animals, and never takes what doesn’t belong to him. He even shows the commitment and care he’s developed for Leah, when he tells Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force.”

So here it is in a nutshell. Jacob demonstrates great character. And he’s also done some really stupid things. He isn’t justified by his own perfection (as sometimes he likes to think), but by the perfect love of God. For him (and Abraham and Isaac) justification comes through the promise of things to come. For us, justification comes through what has already been done…through Christ.

I love this.

Jesus is the center of all things. His perfect sacrifice is what the Old Testament seeks, what the New Testament finds, and what we continually remember. The thousands of years represented in scripture all center on that one, incredible moment in history. Undeserved death. Miraculous life. Eternal forgiveness.

Jacob was protected from the pursuit of Laban. He didn’t have to fear men because God was on his side. And neither do we.

God, thank you for this example of your grace. In a world that seems to be falling apart, may we trust in you…and not fear. We are so undeserving, yet you love us. You justify us. And you set us apart for a great purpose.

May I strive to live a life that says, “thank you.”