We all have this amazing ability...the ability to mess things up:
- We mess up our houses, leaving dirt, scratches, cracks, and gouges in our path.
- We mess up our cars, staining the carpet, tearing the seats, and denting the fenders.
- We mess up our relationships, leaving a trail of hurt and conflict behind us.
- We mess up our churches, finding our will and way more attractive than the glories of God's kingdom and leaving a trail of division in our path.
- We mess up our bodies, eating more than we should, more often than we should, while exercising less than we should.
I don't know if you’ve realized this or not, but the Bible is a story of people who messed up again and again. The Bible isn’t a record of noble people who always made the right choice. The people of the Bible look familiar and human because they have the same attitudes that we do and take the same actions that we tend to take.
But here’s the thing that’s different about the biblical story. The biblical story is God's story. It’s a story of a loving God, who’s intent on rescuing us from ourselves and his loving work of redemption is something we simply can’t destroy. It’s not based on our faithfulness; rather, it’s rooted in his!
If you want a story that further illustrates this point, I would encourage you to listen to my latest sermon, "David and Abner." It's from 2 Samuel 3, and even though David, Abner, and Joab make a terrible mess of things, God is still faithful to His plan. You can listen to it here or you can download the MP3...
Here's another example - Abraham in Genesis 15. God comes to Abraham and makes his covenant with him. He tells Abraham that he’s going to have descendants that number like the stars of the sky and that through his descendants every nation on earth will be blessed.
What does Abraham do? He goes right out and messes things up. He's tired of waiting for an heir, so he has sex with his servant girl, Hagar, who has a son. Sarah, Abraham's wife (who was part of the original plot) gets jealous, starts mistreating the servant girl, and Hagar flees into the wilderness.
What a mess! You’d think that God would say to Abraham, "Now, there you've done it. You’ve destroyed everything I was willing to give you. You’ve messed up my covenant. It's all over." But that’s not what God says.
In Genesis 17, God comes to Abraham again and repeats his covenant promises, this time adding that this covenant is an eternal covenant. Why? Because God wants Abraham to know that the covenant isn’t based on Abraham's faithfulness, but on His.
Abraham has finally met something in his life that he can’t destroy. Abraham has been invited into something that he doesn’t deserve and cannot earn. Abraham has been invited to experience grace.
What does this mean? It means security! It means hope! It means a future! No, it doesn't mean that you can live anyway you want to live, because that is a horrible violation of the grace that you’ve been given (Romans 6:1-2).
What it does mean is that if you’re one of God's children you’ve been welcomed into something you can’t destroy. The foundation of your covenant hope is not your faithfulness. The foundation of your eternal hope is God's faithfulness. And since it’s impossible for God to be unfaithful, everything that he’s promised us is guaranteed and sure.
Let that hope get you out of bed in the morning!