The Con Artist In Jesus’ Family Tree
He was named the "Trickster" –literally the "heel"—because he tripped people up. A mama's boy, a little brother who conned his big brother (even masquerading as his older brother to get his blind, old dad to give him the birthright), Isaac’s son, Jacob, would not be a candidate for the most moral person of the year.
When I drink coffee at a local cafe, the non-religious types sometimes overhear our Bible study conversation and come over to the table. "Pastor Dave, I haven't been at church in a long time, probably won't even come on Christmas Eve, but I'm as good as most of those folks you preach to! At least I don't pretend to be good!" They are firmly convinced that God cheers for the Sunday going church crowd and rejects the "sinners," but is this assumption true?
As we began these devos exploring A Tax Collector’s Christmas Story, we learned that the Lord uses genealogies to trigger our minds to remember the stories He told us in the Jewish Scriptures. So when Matthew writes, "And Isaac generated Jacob" (Matthew 1:2) in the genealogy of Jesus, it’s supposed to trigger the story of Jacob beginning in Genesis 25:21. (It's a great story and won't take as long as a couple of good episodes of NCIS to read through it.) As you are reading ask yourself,
- How did this little brother, a cheat, and a liar, end up in Jesus' family tree?
- What's the big deal about the birthright in this family?” Genesis 25:27-34, 26:2-5, 26:23-25, 27:-29, 28:13-22 and 35:11-13 might give some help answering these questions.
- Then take a careful look at the climax of Jacob's life—a wrestling match with God. What does the fact that he held on so tight teach us about what he wanted more than anything else (Gen. 32-22-32)?
- What do the promises God made to Jacob reveal about the identity of the great male child who will crush Satan's head (Gen 3:15)?
LORD, give me opportunities during this Christmas season to correct the misconception among unbelievers that you reject sinners. Use the fact that you chose Jacob, the cheat, to become Israel, the prince, and in the line of the Messiah to help me to continue to believe that You will fulfill Your promise to me in Christ. Open my heart to the "Jacob" I meet, realizing that I never know when you might transform a "heel" into a saint.
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