No Shadow of Turning with Thee

In regards to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the boys, they are nuts — all of them — and their foolish decisions and family dysfunctions are on display for all to see. Their family picture looks much more like that of Archie Bunker or Roseanne Barr than the Ingles Family. A “Modern Family” they are. Sadly, our religious patriarchs prove to be too much like Bill Cosby. At times, from a cursory view, they look good and wholesome. However, lurking within them is a crass carnality that rivals the world, and it finally comes leaking out. What we see in Genesis is this  …  the “holy family,” they are not so holy.

Abraham and Sarah receive the promises of God, and in turn they laugh behind his back.

Then, the two of them come up with a “genius” plan to fulfill God’s promises by means of their Egyptian servant-girl.

This foolish decision resulted in Sarah’s depression, Hagar’s disrespecting of Sarah, and Sarah dark treatment of Hagar and her son.

God reminds Abraham of his promise and his future fulfillment. Abraham responds by arguing with the Almighty God and requesting Ishmael might be considered for the post.

Abraham encourages his wife to pretend she is only his sister. He does this twice, and some years later Isaac follows in his father’s foolish footsteps. Abimilech must wonder, “What’s the deal with this family?”

Nephew Lot successfully separates himself from Abraham, places his family in Satan’s lap, conforms himself to Sodom’s way of thinking, and while in a pinch proposes the abuse of his daughters. Weeks later, he is scandalously abused by his own girls. Like father like daughters.

Lot’s wife shows her love of Sodom and Gomorrah by turning her heart and head in disobedience to God’s decree.

Esau and Jacob enter life fighting from the womb, and this seems to be their normative posture towards one other.

Many decades later, “Dull Isaac” and “Duplicitous Rebekah” plot and scheme to pass on God’s blessing to their preferred child. They are so uncharitable and dishonest to one another.

Esau shows his rage and intentionally joins himself to wives who will be thorns in his parents’ sides.

Jacob, who took advantage of Esau and Isaac, is greatly taken advantage of by Uncle Laban and his daughter Leah. Both intentionally deceive him on the night of consummation.

Jacob “hates” Leah while showing unrivaled to Rachel.

Marriage woes pass from one generation to the next. In all of their lives, polygamy is the norm as spouses and concubines are accumulated. Sister-wives never help an already tumultuous situation.

And by chapter 29, we have not even arrived at the section of Scripture outlining the ridiculous character and conduct of Jacob’s boys. Just wait, it will get much, much worse.

Yes, I will state it again — They are nuts. All of them are carnal and corrupt. They are one crazy family.

However, they are God’s crazy family, and he has set his undeserved and unchanging affection on them for no other reason than his divine prerogative.

He is the Extravagently-Gracious One.

He is the Promise-Making and Promise-Keeping One.

He is the Always-Forgiving-One who holds on to them despite their scandalous desires, decisions, and deeds.

He is the Forever-Restoring one consistently calling them back to himself and his good ways.

And as is proven by God’s dealing with his crazy family, it is cleary shown that God’s covenant promises and blessings are One-Way, Unilateral, or Monergestic. They are not based on law-keeping. They are not based on sowing and reaping. They are based upon love, grace, and mercy alone. Nothing is based on reciprocating actions, and whatever they do, however far they fall, however bad are the consequences of their sin, God remains unchanged in his covenantal resolve towards them.

No, my friends, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the fellows are not more righteous than their pagan neighbors. They are all born in original sin, and they are all mastering the art of passing on their depravity from one generation to another. These men, their wives, and their children are naturally carnal. They are naturally corrupt. And they prove to be crazy, but they are God’s crazies, and as such they are unconditionally loved, entirely atoned for, thoroughly forgiven, and never forsaken by him. God’s commitment to them makes absolutely no sense from a justice standpoint. If this were contractual, they would have violated the terms before the ink has dried. But God’s grace is not contractual; it is covenantal; and his favor is entirely based on the sovereign love he has chosen to have for those who are spiritual losers.

And here is the Good News …


God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Those of us who are in Christ Jesus are included in the Abrahamic Covenant. He is our father in the faith, and this means that though we are crazy, corrupt, and carnal, God remains crazily in love with us. We are children of the covenant. We are not children of contract.

Therefore, fellow crazies, let us do the next right thing. Let us do what we see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the fellows doing over and over again. Let’s hear the call of our God to see our sin, hate our sin, repent, and worship. And as they built altar after altar to pray and offer forth fresh sacrifices; let fall on our knees and have a little talk with Jesus who is the Lamb of God and our Perfect Sacrifice.

From our knees, let’s hear the Law and then preach the Gospel to ourselves one more time.

Let’s supplicate and ask the Holy Spirit to grant us greater success in walking after the sane model of Jesus Christ.

Then, Let’s offer forth a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s unwaivering love for us.
With renewed emphasis, let’s sing afresh:

Great is THY faithfulness, O God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with thee.

God has not turned from loving us. His face is always looking our way. We have turned from him, and all we need to do to enjoy him afresh is to turn back and look into his eyes of grace.

Let’s be crazy no more. Let’s find our altar and give praise to our Covenant-Keeping-Savior.





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