If you are anything like me, there must have been times when you have thought: How can God use me? I keep letting Him down. I’ve made so many mistakes. Or perhaps you have wondered how God can forgive you or keep loving you. Why doesn’t He just give up on us?
If you can relate to that, here’s something that will blow your mind: Despite our faults, sins, mess-ups and weaknesses, God loves our company, and He always welcomes us into His presence. You don’t believe me? Well, check out this story:
In Exodus 28, we read the Lord’s instructions regarding the high priest’s garments, worn every time he entered the holy place, the presence of God. This occurred during the time of Moses. Among other things, he was required to wear an ephod.
The ephod was a square breastpiece embroidered with beautifully coloured precious stones, bearing the names of Israel’s sons, now tribes. The priest with the ephod and the stones, each with a reminder of a specific son of Israel, were welcomed into the Most Holy Place. I wonder what these sons were like.
Of the many children of Israel, ten were brothers, and two additional stones represented the eleventh brother Joseph’s two sons. There were four different mothers of these boys (two wives and two servant girls) with a, let’s say, complex relationship between each of them and an equally complex relationship between the mothers and the one father of all the children.
Digging deeper, we see jealousy and depression, hatred, and plots to kill. The eldest, Reuben, a perpetrator of a serious sexual offence, was described as turbulent and unstable. The fourth son, Judah slept with a prostitute who turned out to be his daughter-in-law. Simeon and Judah in a fit of rage mass slaughtered every male in a whole city. All the brothers then looted that city, taking off even women and children.
This was one heck of a dysfunctional family.
And yet God in his amazing Grace (and faithfulness to His promises) was pleased to have their names before him. Not because he approved of their behaviour but because they were recipients of the promises given to their great grandfather, Abraham.
Have you ever felt unworthy? God specialises in making unworthy people welcome in his throne room. 1 Pet 2: 4 reminds us that we are, “chosen by God and precious to him.”
When we fail God, he never approves of our behaviour. In fact, the Lord says, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Rev 3: 19) But His love for us remains and, like the sons of Israel, we are recipients of “very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1: 4)
Remember this: at the receiving end of God’s unchanging promises, by faith in Christ, you are always loved and always welcome in His presence.
Suggested prayer: “Lord, I confess my sins to you, my selfishness and mistakes. Thank you for the promise that you will forgive me. Like the father welcoming the prodigal son into his warm embrace, thank you that you welcome me too. Amen.”
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