Genesis 48:15-16 Then he blessed Joseph and said,
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
—may he bless these boys.
To me this comes across as an extremely confused image of God, because he speaks of Him first as God and then as an angel. We’re back to the reality that God relates to us where and as we are, continually drawing us closer to Himself but not rejecting us just because we aren’t there yet. In spite of what today we see as very shaky theology, here Jacob operates prophetically, saying and doing things that echo down through God’s people and His plans for centuries and longer. This is proof that the issue is not the quality of the vessel, but the quality of the contents. Paul recognized that when he said, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Jacob is proof that we don’t even have to understand that treasure very well for Him to work through us; we just need to be yielded. The more we know of God the better it is, but we need to be at peace with the reality that we will never know Him perfectly while we are in these bodies, and simply strive to live a life worthy of the calling we have received, (Ephesians 4:1) whether we understand or not.
One of my father’s signature phrases was, “Give all you know of yourself to all you know of Christ.” That applies perfectly to this truth. I am to strive for faithfulness myself, and I am not to despair as a pastor at those in my care who don’t seem to understand much. Rather, I am to urge and expect them to keep growing in their knowledge of themselves and of Christ, so that by God’s grace they may become mature believers. Also, I am to let God be the judge of their maturity, not letting my own immaturity blind me to what God has done and is doing in them. None of us grow evenly across the board. I need to let the Lord show me what is important when for each individual, myself included, so that together we may encourage and support one another in Christ.
Father, thank You for Your patience with us. Thank You for not demanding perfection before You use us. Keep me from thinking that because You do use me, I am perfect. Help me walk in humility and availability, loving You and delighting in Your love, so that Your will may be done in and through me for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!