Thursday, 26 November 2015


Today we start with the people of Israel; with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  They live their lives and they are given the promises of God: you will be a great nation, you will have the land of Canaan and you will have an offspring who will bless the nations.  Knowing all of this; that God has chosen them for his purposes and has made promises to them which he will keep; will that change them?  Well, sort of.  But mostly the book of Genesis is the story of the people of God not trusting in God and His promises, of them going after their own desires and making a mess of things.  And of God bringing them back to himself again. 

Case in point:  (Genesis 34)  The daughter of Jacob, Dinah, goes by herself to visit the ladies of Shecham; is abducted then assaulted and her bros find out about it.  They are so angry they do not seek justice but revenge.  They kill everyone in town and then abduct all the women and children.  Good one guys.  Nice behavior for God’s people!  But what is God’s response to this craziness?  Is it “Listen!  You guys have been up to this sort of thing for the last 15 chapters, I’ve had it, just forget it, I’ll try again with someone else who has a better handle on how this all works!”?  No!  Instead God reaffirms his promises to Jacob.  I chose you.  You are my people.  Yes you suck but you are mine and I will still give you the land and keep all my promises to Abraham.  Not because you are faithful but because I am faithful.  That’s how I roll” (Kiwi Beggar paraphrase).

Fast forward again to the year 2015 I’m watching the documentary Undefeated.  There is a young man on the football team called Chavis.  He’s just spent 15 months in a correctional facility and he’s back on the team.  He’s a pain, he’s a shocker.  He has major anger issues and the biggest attitude you’ve ever seen.  And he takes it out on everyone and pushes the coach almost to his wits end.  And I’m thinking, he’s gotta be kicked off the team!  The teammates are thinking he’s gotta get kicked off the team, come on, this is ridiculous, he’s messing everything up!   

Cut to an interview with the coach “What do you do with a person like Chavis?  All he has to live for is football, that’s all he has left.  If you have a family member with a drug or alcohol problem at what point do you say enough is enough, get out of my life?  You love them!  Well, all Chavis has is us. At what point do we say, enough is enough, go to a life of crime?  I don’t know where that point is”.  So he stays on the team.  And the problems continue.

Until… the coach sends Chavis onto the field at a crucial point in the game, trusts him and tells him “Go do it; you’re on the team”.  And he does it!  And it changes him.  He believes the promises.  He starts putting the team before himself. He makes up with the team mates he abused.  And all because the coach said: you were that guy with major anger issues, who was getting booted out of everywhere, who went to jail but you are not that guy anymore.  You are part of this football team. So get out there.

You know it’s easy for us Christians to get despondent because we don’t seem to be able to defeat sin in our lives.  We are supposed to be new creations and yet we still lie, gossip, lust, hate people and have no time for others failures.  Hey!  We look a lot like the people of Israel and Corinth and Chavis don’t we?  And these sins can make us feel like we are going to be kicked off God’s team.  

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