I find it strangely comforting to be reminded of the humanity and fallibility of the the great patriarchs (and matriarchs, though they don’t seem to get much of a look-in in this chapter). These great people of God were nonetheless subject to all the ordinary – and sometimes extraordinary – failures, doubts and regrets which are part and parcel of human life.
It’s as if, writ large through the Hebrew Scriptures, God is saying: “I’m not looking for perfect people, nor even particularly good or holy people, just people willing (sometimes reluctantly, sometimes almost accidentally) to be part of what I’m doing.” And for all of us who are far from perfect, who are not particularly good or holy, and sometimes don’t even feel all that much like trying, this is good news.
There is a place for all of us in God. All of us flaky, messed-up, awkward, angry, sorrowful, confused individuals, whom God is somehow calling anyway. Not in spite of who we are, but because of who God is.
The stories of the patriarchs are often spun as examples of human faithfulness to God. But more often they are stories of God’s faithfulness in the face of human failure. And in that there is hope for us all.
#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.