An Example of Grace
Have you ever been given something that you know you don’t deserve because of all the bad things that you have done. It reminds me of the story of Jean Val-jean from the book “Les Miserables.” Jean was an ex-convict who came to stay for the night at a churchman’s house. During the night, Jean decided to help himself to the owner’s finest silver and fled. The next morning, he was caught by the authorities and sent back to the churchman’s house. Instead of pressing charges, the owner lied to the authorities claiming that the silver was a gift to Jean and even offered to give him other things as well!
Why did the man do something like that? Justice demanded that Jean had to be punished for stealing. But instead, the man of God gave the undeserving thief grace.
The Work of Grace
What would you do if someone gave you grace when you deserved justice for the things that you have done? For Jean in the story, grace reformed him and he became an upstanding man of the community. Grace, when it is allowed to work, can transform any person into one that is after God’s own heart.
In Genesis 27, Jacob did the unthinkable. In collaboration with his mother Rebekah, he deceived his aging father Isaac to giving him the blessing of God that he wanted to give to Jacob’s older brother Esau. After the deception was made known, I wonder what Isaac must have felt. What do you think you would have done to respond to such treachery?
Surprisingly in Genesis 28:3-4, we discover that instead of cursing Jacob for what he did, Isaac confirmed the blessing that he made to him in the previous chapter. Why would he do such a thing?! Perhaps Isaac remembered the words of God in a time before Jacob was born that it would be he that would rule over the older Esau. He may not have liked it, but Isaac was resigned to accept it because it was God’s will.
Let us consider Jacob for a moment. How do you think he felt? I can only imagine that he was feeling pretty good about himself knowing that his father had forgiven him and even more blessed him despite what he did. He must have felt like he had gotten away with it. Do you suppose Jacob really understood the importance of what he was just been given from his father?
Jacob’s Encounter with the Divine
I don’t think so because in Genesis 28:13-15 the Lord finally made Himself known to Jacob and reaffirmed the blessing that his father Isaac had given to him. Before this event, Jacob probably had a superficial knowledge of God (probably through seeing his parents worshiping Him), but if you consider his prior deeds it could be safe to say that he didn’t really know God. How do think Jacob felt after this encounter with the Divine?
Two thoughts probably came into Jacob’s mind after his vision. The first was a feeling of security, knowing that One as powerful as God was with him. The second feeling was probably fear for he probably considered all the things that he had done before and must have realized that what he did probably didn’t please God.
Jacob’s Response to Grace
But instead of administering justice that was due to Jacob, God (like Isaac) offered to him grace. Jacob quickly responded to it. Later on in the chapter, he set up of a pillar dedicating it to God and vowed to serve Him.
Are You Living in Grace?
We too, as believers in Christ, have been given grace. The moment Christ died on the cross, all our wrongs against God were forgiven. The justice that was our due was now replaced with unmerited favor with God.
How should you respond to grace? Consider what Jean Val-jean and Jacob did when they were given such an unmerited gift. Look at your own life and ask yourself, are you living as one who is under grace or as one who is still under justice?