“You’re not as good as you think you are, I’m much better than you think I am, let’s talk; let’s reason together.”
By Ernie Heavin
This is YOU and this is ME, Got It?
I’m teaching the book of Genesis for our Tuesday evening bible study. We finished chapter 35 last night. In that chapter we read that Jacob told his household and people once and for all to get rid of all their idols. God’s people? With idols? Still after three generations of following and worshiping Him? They still have a bit of pagan in them. It led me to ask the group and myself this question, “How much pagan is still in you? Are there any idols (false gods) in your household you need to rid yourselves of?”
And yet, whenever Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, regardless of the sins they committed or terrible choices they made, as they see this God of power and grace move within their lives they stop, build an altar to God and worship Him. They seem to have a special place (Bethel) and honestly and thankfully give Him praise. This led me to ask another question for the group and myself, “Do you have a Bethel, a time and place when you see the hand of God working in your life and take that special time to worship Him?” I’m not talking about merely showing up for church once a week for an hour or two, but in addition taking a moment to acknowledge His majestic authority, love and grace?
I believe in order to be sensitive and proper in church many pastors and Sunday school teachers have been a little dishonest about the stories in Genesis. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not so much what they have taught, but what they have neglected to mention. Too often we’ve only heard the cleaned up version of these very dysfunctional families who either commit horrible deeds or make incredibly terrible decisions. Abraham, in order to save his own skin is willing to allow a king or pharaoh take his wife telling him Sarah is just his sister and he did this every place he went. It was only by the grace of God who came to his rescue time and again that gets him out of the mess. They’re deceitful, show questionable parenting skills, lose their temper big time, they’re us. This group of people eventually known as Israel who are trying to follow this God Almighty also wrestle with the pagan side of life and are overwhelmingly dysfunctional, they’re us. And when we read of the overwhelming love, power and grace of the God of Genesis I believe the Lord is saying to us, “That’s Me!”
When we neglect to tell the whole story, the good along with the bad, we never will feel we can measure up with the church folk, thus, maybe we’ve figured out why so many people will never show up at our church. We only tell the cleaned up versions of our lives. I think Genesis has a powerful message for all of us and this is it: God is saying, “You’re not as good as you think you are, I’m much better than you think I am, let’s talk; let’s reason together.”