For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. —1 Corinthians 1:25
Jacob is one of the most important characters in the Old Testament. He was the grandson of Abraham, the son of Isaac, and the third of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If we look at Jacob’s life, we soon recognize that the Bible does not cover up the weaknesses and frailty of its heroes. Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel, was not a particularly attractive person.
If ever there was anyone who knew the guilt of failure, then Jacob is your man. The name Jacob means “heel” (or possibly “deceiver”). Jacob was the world’s greatest manipulator. He wanted to control people. He was a terrible parent and brother. He stole his twin brother Esau’s blessing, and, by cunning, he tricked him into selling his birthright.
Jacob may have been a complainer, a controller, but God loved him. “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (Rom. 9:13). Jacob, though not a very nice guy and not a very attractive person, was loved by God. When it came to the end of Jacob’s life, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews chose one event, which says that “Jacob . . .worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff” (Heb. 11:21). It shows him in his old age before he died, looking back on his life, a life riddled with guilt, but a life that, when it was all over, turned out as if it were perfect. He got his son back. He learned to appreciate Leah and the things God had done for him.
The “Jacobs” of this world aren’t very pleasant, but God loves them.
God loves failures. Do you know why? It’s because He wants to take your life, turn it into a trophy of grace, and bring you to the place where you see that His hand has always been on you. He wants to turn that failure into a blessing.
Excerpted from All’s Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).