I’m reviewing a curriculum I created about Abraham and the Abrahamic faiths. As I’ve gone over it the last couple of days, I’m still struck by the humanity of those that God calls in scripture. Abraham resorts to lying over and over again (Genesis 12:11-13; 20:1-2). Noah gets so drunk he passes out naked (Genesis 9:21). Moses was a murderer (Exodus 2:12). Jacob is a deceiver (Genesis 30:31-43).
The ladies are not without their flaws either. Rebekah sets out to deceive her husband and deny her eldest son his inheritance and blessing (Genesis 27:5-17). Rachel steals and covers up her crime, literally (Genesis 31:34). These are people who mess up, sin, make big mistakes, and yet God calls them into relationship, as leaders, and founders of nations. It is perhaps the best testimony, other than Jesus Christ, to God’s willingness to grant grace and redeem us. If God can take Moses from murdered to prophet, then just imagine what God can do with we who have not taken the life of another! Even if we have, we are not beyond redemption.
While time and tradition have chosen to downplay these character flaws and underscore a heroic depiction of the people, scripture clearly chooses to record their humanity. God does not erase our sins or forget them. Christ covers us in his atoning death, offers us forgiveness, and redeems us from our sins. God knows fully who we are and what we have done. There is nothing hidden, no veneer to our lives as far as God is concerned. In spite of all of this, God chooses to be in relationship with humanity and use us to accomplish God’s will for this world. Maybe our humanity is what makes us understand the stakes and why the world need God. We know the depths to which we can sink, and so we know what could happen when we abjectly reject God. With God’s help, such as the presence of the Holy Spirit, our humanity is an advantage in our mission to make disciples for Jesus Christ and transform the world. Only a great God take take us from the depths of human depravity and lift us up to the height of divine purpose.