One of my professors used to describe the book of Genesis as God’s creation gone haywire. And that is exactly what it is! From the moment that forbidden fruit juice trickled down Adam and Eve’s chins, planet Earth began to spin out of moral control. Before long Adam’s family was stealing … raping … even killing! If I were God, I’d have probably just annihilated them all. Good thing I am not God! Instead of destruction, God set in motion a plan for salvation! He was going to send the Messiah to redeem these people from their sins. And how did He begin that plan? He selected one tiny little family—that of Abraham. From this family would come a Savior who would repair the train-wreck that was planet Earth.
But what is so amazing is that God picked such a twisted, dysfunctional family to work with. Abraham was impatient and deceitful. Isaac showed favoritism between his own children. Jacob was a con-artist. Joseph was arrogant. His brothers murdered a whole village full of men, then sold Joseph as a slave. And this is the family God chose to be the ancestor’s of the Messiah Jesus?!? Would God really put up with such a motley crew?
Well, He didn’t just put up with them. He molded them, changed them, and—sometimes even in the midst of their sinning—He blessed them! Maybe the most remarkable example of this was when Joseph’s brother’s sold him into slavery. In cold blood they shipped him off to Egypt and told their father he was dead. Surely God would not bless such atrocious behavior, would He?
Well, while God surely abhorred their behavior, the fact is that He used their bloody hands to get Joseph down to Egypt where years later, as governor, he was able to provide food for his starving family! If they hadn’t sold him as a slave, he wouldn’t have been able to rescue them from certain death! And all of this came about as a result of God’s plan! He actually used their sinful choices as part of His plan to do them good (see Genesis 50.20)!
Now, the question is ‘Why?’ Why didn’t God just let these bums starve to death? That’s what they deserved, isn’t it? I’ll tell you why: Because if Jacob’s boys had starved to death, the ancestors of the Messiah would have been completely wiped off the face of the earth. No Israel means no Messiah. And no Messiah means no salvation for anyone! And God wasn’t about to let a few rogues ruin His plan for the ages! Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful to His own good purposes (2 Timothy 2.13).
So, take heart, you who consistently fail. The book of Genesis is a monument to the truth that God is not about to let your dysfunctional life or family thwart His purposes of salvation! If you are His, He will change your dysfunction into Christ-likeness … and (without condoning it for one second) He will even sometimes work through your dysfunction to accomplish His good pleasure! God’s purpose of salvation is invincible!!! And therefore, so are His chosen people—even the most mixed up ones!