One of the things that crossed my mind as I was reading this morning was how these men all had something in common. What is that commonality? They are all sinners, deceivers, liars and tricksters. Yes! Even Abraham the patriarch of Judaism and Christianity.
Abraham had the promises of God for the land of Canaan. Verse 18 of chapter 15 of Genesis states,
“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:'” Genesis 15:18 (KJV)
Yet Abraham is fearful for his own life, lies to Abimelech about Sarah only being his sister, causes a curse on the people of Abimelech (chapter 20, Genesis). He is a man of faith. God had given him great and precious promises. Promises of protection, power, wealth, and generations.
Abraham and Sarah laugh at God’s promise of a child, with both of them as parents of the child. Abraham laughs in 17:17, and Sarah in 18:12.
Ishmael is the offspring of an unholy act of unbelief in the behalf of Sarah and Abraham. Despite this God gives Hagar many promises concerning Ishmael, and they are fulfilled just as God has promised.
Isaac, the son of promise ends up in a lying mood as well (chapter 26:6-13).
The name Jacob means “supplanter” equaling trickster, deceiver, you can get the message from that. That name really fits Jacob. He first trades his elder brother Esau out of his birthright; which he eagerly sells for a bowl of soup. Which does not say much about Esau’s character. Jacob thought more of it than Esau did; or he would not have sought it.
The reason I point this all out is, that, the Bible pulls no punches when it comes to mankind’s need. Our greatest need is grace. There is none who is righteous. We are all condemned in sin.
It is God in His grace who came down to sinful, lying, fearful, Abraham and makes him faithful Abraham, “friend of God”. It is God in His grace who chose the lying Isaac to be the second patriarch of the faith. It is God in His grace who chose Jacob, and changed his name from “Supplanter” to later “Israel”.
It is God in His grace who reaches down to liars, cheats, harlots, adulterers, adultresses, murderers, drunks, thieves, and the worst among us; and says to all who will hear,
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 (KJV)
-Tim A. Blankenship