god of mercy and truth


And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.”
(Genesis 32:9-10)

Jacob’s heartfelt prayer to God is insightful, instructive, and encouraging. Though he was a flawed individual whose conduct was far less than upright at times, he nevertheless remained an object of God’s deep and abiding redemptive love. This is our story too, and we would do well to pause and reflect on these things and to address our God in humble, grateful prayer even as Jacob did. Jacob begins his thoughtful prayer by acknowledging his connection to the Patriarchs, Abraham and Isaac, to whom God made precious, unconditional covenant promises. As we contemplate our own place in the plans and purposes of God, we understand that, by God’s grace and through the exercise of our faith, we are counted as Abraham’s children also (Galatians 3:7). As Jacob recounted in his prayer what God had promised him, we too would do well to reflect upon God’s promises to us. God promises that those who enter into a love-trust relationship with Jesus are forgiven of their sins (1 John 1:9; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:13; 1 John 2:12); they are considered justified in God’s sight (Romans 8:33-34). As new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23; Titus 3:5), they are brought into God’s family (Romans 8:15-17; John 1:12; Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 1:4-6; 1 Peter 1:3-4), reckoned as living stones, built together into a holy habitation of God in the Spirit (1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:19-20). As he reflected upon God’s unparalleled grace, Jacob found himself positively overwhelmed. “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies,” cried the patriarch. We would do well to remember that it was “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5a). We get into trouble when we forget that it was not just at conversion that we needed God’s grace, but literally every moment of every day. Paul cautioned us against forgetting this essential fact. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed,” wrote the great apostle, “lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Lastly, Jacob recalled in his prayer God’s past faithfulness to him. “With my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands,” declared the grateful patriarch. He had traveled 450 miles through robber-infested territory with nothing but a staff. Years later he was returning to the Land of Promise with great material wealth. God had protected him and had shown him great favor, despite his moral imperfections. Though the details may differ, this is in fact our redemptive histories also. Let us follow Jacob’s example of remembering and thanking our God, Who has remembered us, His fallen but beloved image-bearers. Hallelujah!

God bless,

pastor john