By J.A. Medders
If you have never seen an episode of Chopped, you have to check it out. Contestants are given a basket of random food items and are expected to make a five-star dish using all of it. What in the world would you make with dried tarantulas, cherry cola sorbet, and marzipan fruit? Alpaca hot dogs, sauerkraut, and carrot ketchup? The baskets are disasters, but somehow, these professional chefs make something edible and, supposedly, somewhat delicious.
When you read the story of Jacob, you are reading a Chopped basket in story form. Deceit, betrayal, abuse, and theft are what makes up so much of Jacob’s life. But God isn’t stumped by Jacob’s failures. He knows how to turn this basket of Jacob’s doings around.
After stealing the blessing from Esau while wearing an Esau costume, of sorts, Jacob heads out to find a wife—to keep the promise of God afloat in this sin-torn world. Jacob nestles in for the night, and God gives him a vision: “A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching the sky, and God’s angels were going up and down on it” (Genesis 28:12). As Jacob sees this stairway, God tells him, “I am the God of Abraham and Isaac, and I will be your God too. I will give you more heirs than there is dust on this planet. Every tribe and ethnicity will be blessed through you” (v.15). Consider that. Through him? The liar? The cheat? The guy who was just wearing an Esau costume to deceive his blind father? Yes, him. Why? This is how grace works.
Our lives are Chopped baskets too. We are an amalgam of bad decisions, wrong turns, and failed cover-ups. But God loves to save sinners. Jesus was nailed to a cross for cheats. He rose from the dead for the kind of people that people love to hate. We are all massive failures apart from the grace of God in Christ the Lord. And just like He told Jacob, He tells us, “I am with you always. I will never leave you or turn my back on you, even till the final trumpet blares.” Jacob didn’t deserve this promise, and neither do we. That’s what makes grace, well, grace. Like Jacob, Jesus takes our pasts, our sins, our failures, and He gives us a glorious future with Him. Hallelujah, praise the Lord!
Written by J.A. Medders