Genesis: Goats, garments and God’s grace

It’s been a while since I shed the naive notion that the patriarchs were perfect people, so a reminder wasn’t unwelcome. As I listened to the series of talks I’ll describe below, I pictured a bewildered angel trying to make sense of God’s choice of such a dysfunctional family (1 Peter1:10-13 is one of my favourite passages of scripture). If you think about it long enough, you may also wonder why God didn’t choose more shining exemplars to effect His salvation…

In his five talks on Genesis 25-50, Simon Flinders drummed into my head the complete unworthiness of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jacob’s sons to be recipients of the grand promises of God:

  • In Genesis 25, we see Esau’s foolishness and Jacob’s conniving;
  • In Genesis 26 we see Isaac repeating the sins of his father. Genesis 27 tells us how Isaac was like his sons: like Esau he was ruled by his appetite; Jacob resorted to deception like his father had done in the previous chapter;
  • Chapter 37 introduces us to Joseph (who was either insensitive or clueless) and his brothers (who were malicious and callous);
  • Chapter 38 recounts the sorry story of the ancestors of Christ;
  • In chapter 50, we finally have a ray of light in Joseph

Flinders wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. He also stressed how:

  • God determined to use this family in spite of their obvious and many sins
  • God saves and restores broken people to achieve His purposes
  • God’s invisibility doesn’t mean He is absent
  • God acts in mercy towards sinners
  • God works out His purposes despite the limits of human wisdom
  • God is sovereign over evil and uses it to fulfil His purposes.

Have a listen to the audio (five teaching sessions + Q&A, all less than 45 minutes each), and hopefully you’ll come away with a renewed appreciation for God’s goodness to ill-deserving sinners!

P.S. If you’re wondering what the goats and garments in the title of this post are, you’ll just have to listen to Mr Flinders 😉