Wednesday, June 22, 2016
The Black Sheep of the Lord
And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
Genesis 28 v 15
The love of the Lord is steadfast. He promises never to leave us or forsake us, give us up or give up on us. He has spoken many things that He has promised will be brought to pass in our lives. He will not fail even in a single thing that He has promised. It will all happen in due time, not late, not too soon. God did not promise to be with Jacob on account of the latter’s faithfulness nor did He forsake him due to his cunning. He was with Jacob as He stayed faithful to His promise to his grandfather Abraham. Each of us go through many ups and downs in our lives, often more downs than ups, but the Lord promises to be the level ground for us to stabilise our emotions, to gain perspective and balance and focus on Him, thereby gaining strength for the next uphill or down hill. Suffering and pain are inevitable in this earthly sojourn but the Lord provides intervals of happiness as relief from time to time. A covenant relationship with the Author of life and all that exists is key to understanding life and to overcome its challenges.
The first and foremost criterion for success and blessedness in this life is that the Lord should be with us. A covenant relationship is a two way responsibility: God’s faithfulness to His promises to us and our faithfulness to His commands. The Lord prospered Jacob as he served his father- in- law Laban. He kept him safe in all his journeys. He blessed him in all that he did. He preserved him from his enemies, foes and rivals. He protected him from vengeance. He blessed him with dreams of heaven and a two way stairway to heaven. The Lord had a covenant relationship with only one of Jacob’s twelve sons- Joseph though every one of them could have had the same promise. The Lord kept Joseph physically safe through many trials and tribulations and in the end prospered him and made him the source of blessing for his father Jacob and for his eleven brothers.
Jacob’s share in Laban’s flock were the dark, speckled, spotted or the black sheep. They are the symbol or the metaphor that each of us is a black sheep in comparison with the purity and holiness of the Lord. Yet, in His faithfulness and through the sacrifice of Jesus, each of us has been made white and spotless as snow. The Lord being with us multiplies our blessings manifold. We need to be clothed by Him, lead by Him and fed by Him, surrounded by Him, focussed on His love, sheltered in Him. The Lord is closer to us than our own skin. He is intertwined in our every thought and emotion. He consummates us or makes perfect our ways, our words and our thoughts towards Him.
Prateep V Philip