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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Build a House

A certain commercial shows an architect ushering potential clients through a tour of photos displaying his craft in buildings around the world. He tells them, “You won’t find these things around the corner. For my work, you have to travel the world!” After sitting, he asks how snobbishly, “What can I DO for YOU?” The wife looks at him and pulls a bathroom fixture from her purse and says with a smirk, “Design a house around THAT.” And the architect stares with a touch of bewilderment . . .

Reading the final chapters of Genesis and looking into the final moments of Jacobs life reminds me of that commercial: one item sets the tone, one item defines all else around it. The same idea could be said of a cornerstone, the key feature of a building. That is what Jacob is at this juncture.

One thing that strikes me about Jacob is that he did not seem to really get his mind made up until he was an older man. The situation with Esau shook him up a bit and certainly the LORD meeting him on the road, changing his name, knocking his hip out—these were significant events. I try to think of how many times the LORD has tried to get my attention and how long He waits for me to “get right.” While it is easy to marvel at his patience, I should instead delve into deeper worship when I realize the extent of His mercy and the depth of His grace.

Another significant consideration about Jacob at the end of his life is that God is at work building a nation of people through which the Savior would come. God chose Jacob as a cornerstone of the house (as it were) for myriad reasons, but a few stand out to me now:

First, we would be served to recognize that throughout the course of time only one nation (the nation Israel) has maintained presence on the face of this planet. All other nations have come and gone. God has seen to it by establishing it in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Second, Jacob was not a “flash in the pan.” He stayed around for a long time. He was reliable. He probably would not admit that to anyone, nor would he think he contributed anything; but, he certainly was one who was reliable—think about it: would you work 7 years for a woman? God knew this was true of Jacob and this was a quality that God underscores. Consistency. Look at the brothers and how quickly they fire up and are gone . . .

Third, Jacob was real. He was authentic. He had been one not so authentic, but after a point, he was who he was. He could not hide any more. He became transparent and learned how to be genuine. The apparent loss and reunion with Joseph seemed to drive that nail home. He finally figured out what was important. Joseph was given that quality and demonstrated it unashamedly—if he did fail, then Egypt was never saved. Jacob’s other sons were less real. Judah finally reached the point when he realized the fakery had to stop, but the rest of the boys paid the price. This is part of the reason Judah and not his older brothers were recipients of the blessing, namely, the line through which Messiah would come.

Fourth, Jacob got tired, but was tireless. Remember when he got out of bed and knelt down to worship? This is what I am talking about. He kept God before Him. So did Joseph—this is why Joseph was used by God to prepare the way for the movement into Egypt.

Clearly this family packs a lot of impact. But it is God who does the impacting. They were a bit dinged and dented, but in the end, were finally the tools God needed to plant and grow a nation. God built for himself a house out of "THAT". And if God can use "THAT" for His purpose, He can use me . . . and you . . .

Ready to be built-upon?

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