As I was growing up Christian, I had a list of questions that stacked up about God, the Bible, and many of the themes found there. One of them involved God choosing to use people as the delivery system of His message and invitation to the world. I was (rightly) taught that we are Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. Sadly, we can probably all remember a story where a Christian leader or group (or we, ourselves) massively compromised the message they carried on behalf of God because of some moral failing. Can God really use imperfect people and groups to accomplish His mission in a credible way?
If you are enjoying our 2020 Bible Project, you have just finished the book of Genesis, and in it, we have met the first of God's chosen people.
I don't know about you, but their quality leaves much to be desired. Beginning with Adam and Eve and ending with the twelve sons of Jacob, these "chosen ones" have committed every sin in the book! There is disobedience, lying, deception, manipulation, blackmail, selfishness, adultery, prostitution, murder, slave-trafficking, stealing, unfaithfulness, favoritism, blackmail, slander and more. Can God really use unholy people for His holy work?
He can. And evidently, He does. Our reading of the book of Genesis reveals that God does not depend on the perfection of His people to effectively deliver His plan and promises. He does not depend on the consistent goodness of His chosen ones in order to deliver His good news through them.
In fact, in some mysterious way, God accounts for it. Genesis makes crystal clear something that will remain true throughout the rest of the Bible's story, and remains true for us today. Not only do the sins of people not ruin God's mission, He actually takes those sins and uses them to accomplish His mission.
This idea is called redemption, and it is demonstrated so powerfully in Genesis, but articulated best by Joseph to his eleven brothers right at the end of the book: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." - Gen 50:20
Do you see Christ in this? I hope you can. In fact, right now, take those words of Joseph and imagine Jesus saying them. Do you see it? As we continue to read the Bible through the lens of love, story, and wisdom - as we keep seeing how the whole Bible really does point to Jesus - would you join me in never doubting that God can and will use us, warts and all?
Tomorrow is a great day to start reading with us as we begin the book of Genesis. Go to www.southwest.org and sign up for our weekly reading plan.